Domestically-owned Venezuelan mobile operator Digitel has invested around USD400 million in the deployment of its mobile broadband network largely based on 3G HSPA+ technology since the end of 2011, the company said in a release cited by BNamericas. The investment figure includes infrastructure and the acquisition of new spectrum, according to the release, Digitel having been awarded 30MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band last year – of which 20MHz has been allocated to 4G LTE services – while improvements to Digitel’s fibre-optic backbone, which now reaches over 2,000km, are also included in the total. The cellco gave a separate update on its LTE rollout progress, saying that its LTE base stations are live in various parts of the country, including areas of the capital Caracas, as well as central and western regions. As reported on 1 August by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Digitel published its list of initial areas with live LTE coverage, including areas in Greater Caracas, the Centro region, Maracay (in the Centro Llanos region), as well as the Centro Occidente and Occidente regions. The company previously set an investment budget of USD268 million for 2013 (up by 70% on the previous year’s CAPEX), to be used largely for fibre-optic network expansion/upgrade (aiming to add 1,350km of fibre) and the commercial build-out of LTE. Digitel’s larger rivals, state-run Movilnet (a subsidiary of fixed line incumbent CANTV) and Telefonica’s local unit Movistar Venezuela, are expected to launch commercial LTE services this year.
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