Alegro foregoes GSM rollout to rent capacity

13 Dec 2007

Movistar Ecuador, owned by Spain’s Telefonica Moviles, has agreed to lease GSM network capacity to domestic state-run rival Telecsa (Alegro) whilst the latter undertakes a migration from CDMA to GSM platforms, reports BNamericas. According to Alegro’s president Francisco Almeida, quoted by local online newspaper Hoy, the CDMA2000 operator studied deploying its own GSM network but opted for renting airtime, as it would be 85% cheaper. Alegro, the smallest of Ecuador’s three cellcos, originally opened negotiations with market leader Conecel (Porta Celular), owned by America Movil, with a view to leasing GSM capacity, before opting for Movistar. Almeida said new Alegro customers would receive GSM services while its existing 450,000-strong subscriber base would begin a gradual migration to the platform next year, with the plan being to reach a million users by 2009. Switching to GSM would extend Alegro’s coverage to the country’s 24 provinces including the Galapagos islands, added the president. Both Conecel and Movistar have migrated the majority of their respective TDMA and CDMA users to GSM networks, launched in 2003 and 2005 respectively, says TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database.