According to unconfirmed local press reports the Nicaraguan government has launched a tender for two new mobile licences, with a view to breaking up the long-standing Claro/Movistar duopoly. Orlando Castillo, head of telecoms regulator Instituto Nicaraguense de Telecomunicaciones y Correos (Telcor), has reportedly indicated that each concession will encompass mobile voice, broadband and 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity. He added that the licences, which are rumoured to include frequencies in the 1800MHz band, will be geared towards companies who are prepared to focus on the deployment of rural-focused services. Finally, Castillo indicated that a number of unspecified companies from China, South Korea and Taiwan have already lodged an interest in the tender.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database , Nicaragua’s wireless sector is a two-player market following the September 2006 merger between two America Movil (AM) subsidiaries, Enitel Movil and PCS Digital/Sercom. Prior to 2004 rival operator Telefonia Celular Nicaragua (Movistar), was previously affiliated to US-based BellSouth. Other notable presences in the Nicaraguan telecoms sector are WiMAX firm Yota Nicaragua, a subsidiary of Russia’s emergent LTE provider Scartel (Yota), and pan-Central American internet service provider (ISP) IBW, which has previously expressed a desire to make the transition from WiMAX to LTE.