Bolivian mobile operator NuevaTel PCS will now invest USD20 million to extend its GSM coverage and increase capacity on its GPRS and EDGE networks this year, according to BNamericas quoting local daily El Mundo. ‘The USD20 million is actually USD2 million more than previous forecasts,’ NuevaTel VP Juan Pablo Calvo told El Mundo. Earlier this year, the company said it plans to focus much of its efforts on the expansion of its GSM network in the La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz regions, as well as border towns such as Puerto Suárez.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, NuevaTel is the youngest — and smallest — of Bolivia’s three mobile operators. It was founded as a joint venture between fixed line co-operative COMTECO and US-based Western Wireless International (WWI). It launched its GSM network in 2000, after winning the previous year’s nationwide PCS licence uncontested, and offers services under the banner Viva GSM. It is also active in the fixed line long-distance and public telephony sectors. In 2005 Western Wireless was acquired by rival Alltel, and as a result of the acquisition, WWI agreed to sell its 71.5% stake in NuevaTel to a consortium of local investors for USD39.5 million in cash. The deal was completed in June 2006. The change of ownership has not curtailed NuevaTel’s investment plans.