Haiti’s new national full-service telecoms operator Natcom, a joint venture between Vietnam’s Viettel and the Haitian government, has officially opened its services to the public. Natcom claims to have already signed up 250,000 mobile subscribers in a one-month trial offer ahead of its commercial launch, and says that its arrival has caused a 20% reduction in mobile tariffs in the market, currently led by Digicel Haiti, which competes with rival GSM provider Voila. Natcom’s Vietnamese parent announced that it has installed nearly 1,000 2G and 3G mobile base stations, in a project begun in May 2010, as well as deploying 3,000km of fibre-optic cable. Viettel’s deputy CEO Nguyen Manh Hung said at a launch ceremony that Natcom’s next goal is to expand the fibre network to every area of Haiti, whilst Haitian president, Michel Martelly declared: ‘The 3,000km cable that Natcom developed will contribute to a revolution in the telecommunications sector in this country.’
Shortly before the launch, an interconnection agreement was reached between Digicel and Natcom, reports the Haiti Libre news service. At a meeting of the Senate Commission of Public Works, Transport and Communications on 6 September, attended by the National Council of Telecommunications (Conatel), Natcom and Digicel announced an agreement on interconnection of their mobile networks.