According to local press reports Beijing-based research and development firm Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group is one of the companies interested in securing a mobile phone licence in Nicaragua. The development was revealed at an investment forum in Managua, and the company indicated that, if successful in its bid for the concession, it will invest around USD300 million in the deployment of infrastructure. Late last week, Orlando Castillo, head of telecoms regulator Telcor, launched a tender for two new mobile licences in the 1785MHz-1805MHz band, with a view to breaking up the long-standing Claro/Movistar duopoly. Both concessions will allow the introduction of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology and be geared towards operators which are prepared to concentrate on the deployment of rural-focused services.
When announcing the tender Castillo indicated that a number of unspecified companies from China, South Korea and Taiwan had already lodged an interest in the tender, one of whom is now believed to be Xinwei Telecom. Other interested parties are likely to include pan-Caribbean operator Digicel – which first identified Nicaragua as a future target market in 2008 when it started expanding its footprint across Central America – and Vietnamese military-backed telecoms outfit Viettel Corporation, which is slowly increasing its presence in Latin America with an active operation in Haiti and 900MHz spectrum resources in Peru. The Peruvian concession specifically covers poverty-stricken and rural areas lacking connectivity.