Spanish-owned cellco Movistar Venezuela is mulling a commercial launch of 4G LTE services in the capital Caracas in the first quarter of 2015, reports El Mundo, quoted by Telecompaper. The news follows the recent relaunch of a 4G mobile broadband spectrum licence tender in the 2100MHz/1700MHz (AWS) and 2500MHz-2690MHz (2600MHz) frequency bands. Digitel is currently the country’s sole 4G LTE mobile operator, while state-backed Movilnet (part of CANTV) also aims to gain a 4G concession.
Also reported by El Mundo, Movistar Venezuela expects total investments this year to reach at least VEF9 billion (USD1.426 billion), but company president Pedro Cortez added that investments will climb even higher if it obtains a 4G spectrum licence before the end of the year. Cortez noted that Movistar doubled the size of its investment in 2013 and expects to do the same this year. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that parent Telefonica previously raised the investment budget in Venezuela by 95% for full-year 2014, to around VEF8.97 billon, up from VEF4.61 billion invested in 2013, while part of the motivation for raising the budget is that the Spanish-backed group would prefer to invest the money than see it lose value in another of Venezuela’s periodic currency devaluations.