The commercial launch of Nicaragua’s would-be third mobile operator Xinwei Telecom could be one step closer, La Prensa reports, after the enigmatic Chinese-backed firm opened an office in the former headquarters of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute. All eyes have been on Xinwei since June this year, when the company’s owner Wang Jing secured rights from the Nicaraguan government to build and operate a USD40 billion shipping channel through the country – which is hoped to rival the Panama Canal – prompting bewilderment among international observers. With Xinwei’s lacklustre telecoms credentials already coming under scrutiny, the move prompted further scepticism towards the company.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Xinwei was awarded a mobile licence utilising the 1785MHz-1805MHz spectrum band in November 2012, after beating off competition from a number of unspecified companies from China, South Korea and Taiwan. Although the government hopes that Xinwei’s introduction will help to break up the long-held Claro/Movistar duopoly, doubts over its operational strategy remain. The Chinese firm reportedly plans to roll out a network based on multi-carrier wireless in the local loop (McWiLL) SCDMA. The little-known local access platform, which is trademarked by Xinwei, has reportedly been deployed in numerous markets worldwide, most recently Cambodia, in May 2012.