Central America catch-up: Xinwei targets North Atlantic region rollout; Conatel publishes new 700MHz timetable

21 Oct 2014

The enigmatic Chinese telco Xinwei is finally poised to launch operations in Nicaragua – in January 2015 – but the scale of its deployment is vastly reduced from that set out in its January 2013 licence conditions. According to Nicaraguan website Confidencial, the company will launch mobile telephony and broadband connectivity in seven isolated communities in the North Atlantic Region in the new year. Despite promising to invest USD700 million in its initial launch, it now transpires that Xinwei’s inaugural rollout has in fact been funded by the World Bank, which has supplied it with USD800,000. The project will benefit around 15,000 people in the following settlements: Wawa, Krukira, Awastara, Bismuna, Cabo Viejo, Andris and Klark, all of which are situated in the Region Autonoma del Atlantico Norte (RAAN).

Meanwhile, Honduran watchdog Comision Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel) has published a modified auction table for its imminent distribution of 700MHz spectrum. All applications will be assessed between 13 October and 20 October, with the list of pre-qualified bidders revealed on 24 October. Companies must formally register their bids on 28 October, with the determination of awards scheduled for 3 November. Payment for the concessions will need to be made on 6 November, with the licences distributed from 14 November. Under the terms set out by its initial resolution, the regulator is looking to award a pair of 2×15MHz spectrum blocks in the 733MHz-748MHz and 788MHz-803MHz bands.