Startel to invest USD5m in rural rollout

15 Jun 2006

Bolivian alternative operator Startel has revealed plans to invest USD5 million in the rollout of residential telephony, data transmission and public telephony services in 14,400 rural locations, according to BNamericas quoting local newspaper La Prensa. Startel has contracted ZTE Corp of China to deploy infrastructure for the project, which will provide services in the 450MHz band. The network is expected to be operational within the next nine months, the paper said.

Last month Startel won a public tender to expand telecoms services in rural regions, beating Comteco to the contract. The winning bidder found itself at the centre of a bribery scandal that saw deputy telecoms minister Jorge Estrella Ayala fired for allegedly demanding Startel pay him USD100,000 to influence the award of the contract.