Bolivian mobile network operator Entel Movil, a subsidiary of fixed line incumbent Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel), is set to spend around USD32 million on the introduction of HSPA+ technology to its network, national news agency ABI.bo reports. It is understood that the cellco has already launched commercial mobile broadband services using the technology in the cities of Trinidad (Beni), Tarija, Oruro, Sucre and Potosi, while the network is still being upgraded in Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, La Paz and El Alto, although services are expected to be made available to the public this month. Meanwhile, Entel Movil is also thought to be planning to expand HSPA+ coverage further, to Pando, in the coming months, alongside a number of other medium-sized cities such as Villa Montes, Yacuiba and Montero. According to the general manager of the cellco’s parent company, Roy Mendez, theoretical speeds over the improved network will reach up to 21Mbps, the fastest downlink rates offered by any operator in the country, and commenting on the development he said: ‘With this technological leap, Entel offers Bolivians technology at the same level as in the major capitals of the world, significantly reducing the digital divide.’
In addition, the executive also revealed that with the introduction of 3.5G services firmly underway its 4G offerings may not be that far behind, with trials of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology taking place in the capital La Paz today. No timeframe for a commercial launch of the 4G technology has been revealed however.