Oruro becomes first department with full telephony coverage

10 Feb 2010

The Oruro department in Bolivia has become the first in the country to achieve full telecommunications coverage, President Evo Morales has announced, government news service Agencia Boliviana de Informacion reports. State-owned telco Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel) said that, while prior to renationalisation its mobile subsidiary Entel Movil had just 15 mobile voice base stations in the region, this had now risen to 55; a further ten cell sites are to be deployed by Entel in Oruro to further enhance coverage this year.

Commenting on the development, Leonardo Bascope, CEO of Entel, said: ‘Entel’s main objective is to unite Bolivia with telephone, internet and satellite television, reaching all those places where you never thought to get when you had a purely commercial effort.’ The telco is undertaking a large scale rural expansion project, after Mr Morales in April 2009 called on it to guarantee nationwide mobile voice coverage. In order to reach this target, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, it inked a deal with Chinese vendor Huawei in October 2009 for the deployment of new infrastructure in a deal worth approximately USD120 million.