The management board of Colombian cellco Colombia Móvil (Ola) has approved a COP40 billion (USD17.6 million) network expansion plan, according to BNamericas. The investment is aimed at extending services to 100 additional municipalities across the country, and is to be funded by savings that the company attributes to improved operational efficiency. The planned expansion forms the first phase of a COP120billion (USD52.6 million) development programme, which includes the installation of 600 new GSM base stations and focuses on coverage of major routes and tourist areas. Ola also announced that a backbone network upgrade being carried out by Chinese vendor Huawei would be finished by the end of 2005. The company has also revealed plans to launch new services such as collect calls to mobile phones and SMS messages to fixed line numbers.
Ola, Colombia’s youngest mobile operator, is a joint venture between Bogotá-based fixed line telco ETB and Medellín municipal telco EPM. At the end of June 2005 it had 1.6 million subscribers and a market share of 10.3%.