DR Telecom, a telecoms start-up in the Dominican Republic, has revealed plans to roll out broadband services in the first quarter of 2007, before launching a voice over Wi-Fi service in mid-2007. Company president Roberto Jiménez told BNamericas that it would start with broadband due to the larger potential for the market. ‘The only segment of Verizon Dominicana [the incumbent] that is growing is broadband’, he said.
According to BNamericas, Jiménez funded DR Telecom with USD3.5 million of his own money, but plans to seek other investment sources within the next 90 days. During the first twelve months he plans to invest an additional USD8 million and expects the company to be cash flow positive by its third year of operation. By the end of the first year the company aims to have 15,000 subscribers, with a goal of between 12% and 18% yearly growth. BNamericas reports that the first stage of the rollout will take place in capital city Santo Domingo, with future deployments in Santiago and several other smaller cities until nationwide coverage is reached in two to three years. Jiménez concedes that Wi-Fi mobile service is more limited than traditional mobile coverage, but that technological advances could allow it to adapt its service to other technologies such as GSM. The voice rollout will start off using unregulated spectrum space due to the high cost of regulated bandwidth concessions, but will look at the possibility of acquiring space if unused segments are auctioned.
Finally, BNamericas adds that the company considered using WiMAX technology to establish its network, but chose Wi-Fi instead because WiMAX still lacks universal standards, which could force the company to reinvest in its infrastructure if a standard is established in the future.