Conatel kicks off 2.5GHz-2.6GHz 4G consultation

27 Mar 2013

Venezuelan telecoms regulator Conatel has initiated a public consultation on the future usage of the 2500MHz-2690MHz frequency band with the aim of introducing new 4G mobile broadband services such as LTE. The invitation for participation issued by the regulator to operators, manufacturers, public authorities and other stakeholders runs from 25 March to 9 April 2013. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that several Venezuelan operators, notably Movilmax, have been issued with wireless licences for providing wireless broadband internet access, including WiMAX in the 2.5GHz-2.7GHz frequency range, and in mid-2007 Movilmax launched commercial operations in the band, passing 10,000 WiMAX subscribers in 2011; however in April 2012 Movilmax announced it had scrapped plans for a nationwide WiMAX rollout in favour of a switch to TD-LTE technology, but it will require regulatory clearance. Movilmax has revealed aims to begin LTE mobile data service deployment from mid-2013 using its existing frequencies, but its plans could be stalled by Conatel, which as reported by local newspaper El Mundo, backs the idea of holding an open auction for 2.5GHz-2.6GHz 4G licences. Following 1800MHz/1900MHz licence awards in Q3 2012 the three incumbent cellular network operators Movilnet, Movistar and Digitel are planning to launch commercial LTE services this year, initially using the lower bands, while El Mundo notes that other companies including pay-TV provider DirecTV have expressed interest in operating mobile broadband services, potentially using the 2.5GHz-2.6GHz band.