CNT launching LTE next month

18 Oct 2013

State-owned Ecuadorian full-service telco Corporacion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CNT) will launch commercial 4G LTE mobile broadband services in late-November, its CEO announced at a media preview event on Wednesday evening. Cesar Regalado told journalists that users will be able to subscribe to CNT’s 4G services from the final week of next month, enabling mobile internet access at download speeds of between 15Mbps and 20Mbps, and 6Mbps-7Mbps upload, or around ‘ten times’ faster than CNT’s current network, local newspaper El Comercio reported. In an initial launch phase, CNT will also offer LTE access via a ‘MyFi’ mobile Wi-Fi hotspot router enabling users to wirelessly connect up to five devices (including smartphones, tablets and laptops) to the 4G network, requiring a subscription costing between USD35 and USD50 for a monthly data allowance of 2GB-5GB. In a secondary launch, LTE will be marketed directly to mobile handset users. Regalado added that investment in the LTE project to date had reached USD36 million, while around 400 LTE base stations in major cities will be operational in the initial commercial phases. As quoted by another publication, TeleSemana, the CEO continued that CNT has prioritised 4G network deployment in financial and industrial centres, as well as residential or commercial zones with very high public data demand, while in a later stage – to begin in the second half of 2014 or later – the LTE rollout will include rural areas.

TeleGeography says that Ecuador’s telecoms regulator Conatel awarded CNT spectrum suitable for the provision of LTE services in December 2012, including 40MHz in the 2100MHz/1700MHz AWS band and 30MHz in the 700MHz band, setting it up to become the first LTE operator in the country, and enabling it to cover rural areas previously unserved or underserved with high speed broadband. In May 2013 CNT selected Huawei Technologies of China to partner it in deploying the new network in the capital Quito and other areas, and in September it selected a second LTE network technology partner, France-based Alcatel-Lucent, which is deploying 4G base stations in the southern cities of Guayaquil, Cuenca, Machala and Loja, as well as other cities in Ecuador´s Pacific Coast and Southern areas.