Venezuelan state-owned cellco Movilnet, a division of national telco CANTV, has indicated that its long-delayed 4G LTE network should finally go live before the end of the year. Company president Jacqueline Faria told local media representatives that the 4G network will be made available on a nationwide basis, following the upgrade of 220 base transceiver stations (BTS). Despite the informal update, no concrete launch date has been provided.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database confirms that Movilnet, Venezuela’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, received an LTE-suitable spectrum licence in December 2014, comprising a 2×10MHz block of AWS (2100MHz/1700MHz) frequencies. Licensing conditions stipulated an LTE service launch within twelve months (i.e. by December 2015), covering Venezuela’s 20 most populous zones, but this was delayed due to myriad economic factors; telecoms operators suffer from an equipment and handset shortfall largely caused by a lack of foreign currency.
Rival operators Digitel and Movistar switched on LTE networks in July 2013 (1800MHz band) and February 2015 (2100MHz/1700MHz band), respectively.