Puerto Rico’s smallest cellular network operator Open Mobile is aiming to be first in Latin America to launch commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G mobile broadband services, after choosing Sweden’s Ericsson to supply, deploy and manage a nationwide LTE radio access network combined with MPLS-enabled mobile backhaul. The rollout, which has already begun, includes multi-standard RBS 6000 series base stations linked by all-IP core infrastructure. ‘Our companies have worked closely to rapidly build a high-quality 4G LTE network,’ said Neville Cruz, CTO at Open Mobile, who added that the LTE rollout would continue in metropolitan areas during the remainder of 2011 and early 2012.
Open Mobile faces a challenge to achieve its aim of launching the first commercial Latin American LTE service, as TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database documents 20 networks based on the 4G platform in various stages of deployment across the region, several of which are only a month or two away from scheduled launch. In Puerto Rico alone, two rival mobile operators, US-owned AT&T and Mexican-backed Claro, are planning to launch commercial LTE services by early 2012, whilst Sprint’s 4G rollout in the US is expected to encompass the island later that year. Open Mobile’s existing services in Puerto Rico are based on CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev A technology, as are Sprint’s, while both AT&T and Claro own a mixture of GSM/W-CDMA and CDMA2000-based networks.