Posts filed under ‘Venezuela’
Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA), announced its wireless subscriber base has increased by 60% to 480,000, up from 300,000 since the government opened up the service to the public in April 2008. Until President Raul Castro lifted a ban, mobile phones were only available to tourists and government officials. Nearly 8,000 subscribers were registered in the first ten days after the restrictions were relaxed. The government recently lowered the activation charge from USD120 to USD64, though this remains higher than most Cubans can afford, representing three months wages for the average worker.
In a separate story, government officials have stated that Cuba will continue to limit internet access after the completion of a 1,550km fibre-optic cable linking the island to Venezuela. The country currently connects to the internet via satellite as a result of the US trade embargo. Boris Moreno, deputy minister of computer science and communication, said that Cuba, with a population of around 11.4 million, has 1.4 million internet users, and that by the end of 2008 there were 630,000 computers, a 23% increase compared to end-2007.
Venezuelan cellco Movilnet has reported that in 2008 it strengthened its coverage in western central areas of the country, by deploying 109 GSM and 14 CDMA2000 1x base stations covering Lara, Yaracuy and Portuguesa, to take its total in those cities to 232 base stations. Asdrubal Pire, head of operations and systems for Movilnet in the central region, explained, ‘We had already covered most of the major roads and major towns, and additionally, there were increases in capacity in urban areas.’ Movilnet, a wholly owned subsidiary of state-owned telco CANTV, launched commercial GSM services with limited coverage in December 2008. At that date the GSM network spanned 1,000 base stations (up from 760 in September 2008). Commercial GSM coverage was initially only available in the Portuguesa and Nueva Esparta areas.
Vietnamese military-owned telco Viettel has announced plans to expand its network to North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, according to reports in local paper Thanh Nien Daily. Tran Phuoc Minh, deputy director of Viettel, said the company is hoping to hold negotiations with the three countries in order to gain a foothold in their still relatively underdeveloped wireless markets. The cellco expanded its network to Cambodia last year, where it signed up 100,000 wireless subscribers after two months of pilot operations, as well as Laos, where it hopes to attract 50,000 subscribers this year. Viettel had a subscriber base of 28 million at end-2008.
Uruguayan telco Antel has been invited by the Solidarity Fund of Ecuador to invest in Ecuadorian state-run cellco Telecsa (Alegro). Antel said in a statement that it wants to operate in Ecuador, where it already provides consultancy services. The company said that it would not take a majority equity stake in Telecsa, but its investment would be ‘significant’. Antel is also working as a consultancy in other Latin American countries including Venezuela, Cuba and Paraguay.
Venezuelan telecoms regulator Conatel has awarded a concession to GSM mobile operator Digitel for 10MHz of radio spectrum in the 900MHz frequency band, local press reported, quoted by BNamericas. The spectrum was originally promised last May, and cost the country’s third largest cellco over USD26 million, according to the report. Digitel has revealed plans to roll out 3G UMTS services by the end of this quarter. Via the new bandwidth allocation Digitel will be able to expand its services in several states including Amazonas, Anzoategui, Apure, Barinas, Delta Amacuro, Lara, Merida, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo and Zulia. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, both of Digitel’s larger rivals Movistar and Movilnet were awarded additional 30MHz spectrum blocks in the 1900MHz band in October 2007, in an auction in which Digitel was left empty handed. In June 2004 Digitel was awarded 10MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz range to alleviate problems of network saturation; in return the operator handed back trunking spectrum in the 800MHz range to Conatel.
Venezuelan GSM mobile operator Digitel expects to announce the commercial launch of 3G services by the end of the first quarter of this year, reports BNamericas, quoting its commercial vice president Luis Perez, who was speaking to local press. The VP also said that the cellco expected to add 1.5 million new mobile lines during 2009 to reach a total of around 7.5 million, and expected the launch of 3G to play a significant part in achieving this aim. Subscribers in greater Caracas alone are expected to total 2.8 million by year-end, with a total of 1.3 million customers in the Centro region and a further one million in the Centro Llanos region also predicted. According to AIKresearh’s database, Venezuela’s largest cellco by subscribers, state-run Movilnet, has tentatively scheduled the rollout of 3G UMTS services for late 2009, following its limited rollout of a GSM-based network in December 2008, whilst second-place operator Movistar Venezuela, owned by Spain’s Telefonica, launched 3G/3.5G W-CDMA/HSDPA services earlier in the same month. Both Movilnet and Movistar have reported high levels of demand for their 3G EV-DO-based data/internet services, both of which were launched in 2005.
Venezuelan mobile operator Movistar has launched commercial 3G/3.5G services based on W-CDMA/HSPA technology in the greater Caracas area, the company said in a statement, quoted by BNamericas. The cellco, a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica, is initially focusing on HSPA-based mobile broadband internet and data transmission services, but plans to increase the number of value added services on offer as well as expand HSPA coverage nationwide. Movistar Venezuela has invested VEB55 million (USD25.6 million) in the first phase of the 3.5G rollout and plans to spend a further VEB225 million in spreading the service across the country, its vice president of networks, Juan Comerma said. To provide nationwide coverage, Movistar expects to deploy approximately 1,000 UMTS base stations. Movistar Venezuela launched commercial 3G services based on CDMA2000 1xEV-DO technology in 26 of Venezuela’s biggest urban areas in December 2005, and expanded 3G coverage to over 55% of the population and more than 30 cities by the end of 2007, in response to high demand for mobile internet/data access in the country. In December 2006 it soft launched a GSM network in selected areas, with wider commercial GSM coverage achieved in the first quarter of 2007. Since then, it has seen rapid client migration from its CDMA2000-based platforms to GSM-based services. Movistar currently offers the following UMTS 3G-capable mobile devices: the BlackBerry Bold 9000; Palm Treo 750; Nokia N95, N95 8GB, N78, 3120, 3555, 5610, 5320, E71, 6555i; Motorola Z9 and V9 Ferrari; HTC TNT II; Sony Ericsson K850i, W760, Z750a; and Apple’s iPhone 3G.