4G orgy: cellcos rush to launch LTE following licensing

5 Feb 2015

Ecuadorian cellcos Claro and Movistar have released statements to local press declaring their intentions to launch 4G LTE mobile services as soon as possible, following the news a few days ago that the private sector duo had completed negotiations with the government on licensing terms. According to the El Comercio and El Universo newspapers, commercial LTE services should appear within six weeks, providing competition to the country’s only existing LTE service offered by state-run CNT. The president of Telefonica-backed Movistar was quoted as claiming that limited-coverage LTE services will be available within five-to-six weeks in several areas of the country, while Movistar has budgeted USD150 million investment for the year. Similarly, larger rival Claro (part of the America Movil group) is embarking on its LTE rollout and confirmed that it will use 40MHz (2×20MHz) of AWS (1700MHz/2100MHz band) spectrum for nationwide 4G services, with an additional 2×10MHz of newly-issued 1900MHz band frequencies earmarked for 3G network coverage/capacity improvements by the Mexican-backed operator. As previously reported in CommsUpdate, on 2 February 2015 Ecuadorian regulator Conatel approved terms and conditions for the allocation of 60MHz of frequencies to Claro for USD180 million, and a 50MHz spectrum allocation costing Movistar USD150 million, while the country’s telecoms minster disclosed that the spectrum awards included the AWS band for LTE usage and the 1900MHz band for expanding 3G.