The smallest of Venezuela’s three cellcos by subscribers, Digitel, has become the first to launch a commercial service based on 4G LTE technology, using the 2×15MHz 1800MHz frequency band it won in a September 2012 licence auction, and following a short pilot of the network in Caracas. The company says it would have rolled out LTE services sooner, but delays were caused by a shortage of foreign currency in Venezuela with which to buy 4G network equipment and LTE-capable handsets or other devices. Digitel has not made an official launch announcement and is not yet marketing 4G prominently on its website, although the site tells customers that its LTE-based data service is initially only available to post-paid consumer and business users via the purchase of a U-SIM card and a subscription to a ‘Smart Plan’ data package. Local news source ElMundo.com says that Digitel is initially offering just one LTE-capable handset, the BlackBerry Z10. Digitel’s website also promises that LTE will be available ‘soon’ for pre-paid customers.
The current coverage areas are listed on the website as follows:
Greater Caracas region (Altamira, Los Palos Grandes, Chacao, Bello Campo, La Castellana, La Floresta, Chuao, Las Mercedes, El Rosal, Santa Rosa de Lima, Country Club, Los Naranjos, Los Dos Caminos, Boleita, Parque Del Este, La Urbina, El Marques, Los Chorros, Montecristo, Los Ruices, Santa Eduvigis, Sebucan, Maiquetia, Montesano, Naiguata, Punta de Mulatos, Maiquetia International Airport);
Centro region (CDA Puerto Cabello, La Belisa, General Motor, Los Guayos, Vina, Av. Bolivar, Rancho Grande, UC Carabobo, Las Quintas, Av. Lara, Sambil, Dist. Naguanagua, Morro, La Esmeralda, BigLow, La Isabelica, San Diego, Ciudad Alianza, Trigalena, La Emboscada, Barrio Urdaneta, Guacara, Trigal N, Estadio, CC Vina, Michelena, South Industrial Zone, Trigal CT);
Centro Llanos region (Maracay);
Centro Occidente region (Leones, Trinitarias, Centro Civico, Hospital, Vargas, Mapfre, Centro BTO, Hilton, Tiuna & Ujano, Manongo, Cagua, Turmero, Ojeda);
Occidente region (Calle 72, San Jacinto, Sambil, Olivos, La Paragua, Urbe, Cecilio Acosta, Cabimas, Claret, Delicias).