Claro, Movistar reach 4G agreement with government

26 Jan 2015

America Movil-backed Claro Ecuador and Telefonica subsidiary Movistar Ecuador have reached an agreement with the Ecuadorian government on granting nationwide 4G LTE mobile frequency licences, with telecoms minister Augusto Espin stating that all necessary conditions have been agreed on, reports TeleSemana quoting an interview by newspaper El Comercio. The minister indicated that a document containing the negotiated conditions now needs to be approved by the cabinet and president before contracts are signed with the operators, a process estimated to take two weeks. Espin also disclosed that negotiated portions of spectrum included the AWS (1700MHz/2100MHz) and 1900MHz bands, while prices and agreed terms are not yet being made public; he added that an expansion of import quotas for LTE smartphones was also negotiated – an important factor for the two foreign-owned private sector cellcos to meet 4G demand. Currently, state-owned CNT operates Ecuador’s only 4G LTE service, which was launched in March 2014; regulator Supertel’s website says that CNT’s LTE mobile subscriber base reached just 16,912 by the end of October 2014.