Utility ETAPA tapping mobile broadband market

23 Mar 2011

Ecuadorian municipally-owned telco and utility operator ETAPA has revealed plans to launch rural mobile broadband services, based on WiMAX technology, with roaming to be provided via CDMA2000 1xEV-DO cellular technology. The Cuenca-based telco said it would soon start selling wireless broadband modem devices, according to Telecompaper, but further details such as roaming partners were not provided. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database shows EV-DO-based mobile broadband is available in cities and towns across Ecuador provided by state-owned CNT under the Alegro brand – although the national telco has begun a W-CDMA/HSPA network rollout intended to replace the service in the next couple of years – whilst ETAPA itself operates a CDMA-based mobile service in its home city, subscribers to which are counted as part of Alegro’s user base. Meanwhile, WiMAX is widely provided in the country by operators such as PuntoNet, Telmex Ecuador and CNT. GlobalComms also notes that ETAPA’s previous attempt to expand nationwide from its southern base failed: national division Etapatelecom offered internet, data and telephony services to business customers under a licence granted in late 2003, but last year the unit was merged back into the parent company following woeful customer take-up. Further information on current and future WiMAX and LTE markets in countries worldwide is available in TeleGeography’s 4G Research Service.