State-owned 4G provider Une-EPM expects to have signed up 200,000 subscribers to its Long Term Evolution (LTE) services by the end of 2013, having rolled out its 2600MHz network to 15 cities, El Tiempo cites the operator’s president Marc Eichmann as saying. Une, which offers predominantly fixed broadband services, expects direct-to-home (DTH) TV provider and 4G licensee DirecTV to be its chief competitor in the 4G space, as both operators look to concentrate on providing LTE as an alternative to fixed broadband. Other 4G licensees will concentrate on either the mobile segment – such as Movistar, Tigo and Claro – or corporate (Avantel) arena. Eichmann also commented on the upcoming merger of Une and Tigo, saying that the process was being considered by financial watchdog the Superintendencia Financiera and antitrust authority the Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (SIC). The tie-up is due to be completed by May 2014 and will see Une control 50% plus one share in the combined entity, although Tigo will assume operational and administrative control.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Une-EPM was the first operator to launch an LTE network in Colombia, activating its system in June 2012 and accruing 82,812 subscribers by end-June 2013. Competition finally arrived in the 4G space earlier this month, when Spanish-backed cellco Movistar and Tigo, which is majority owned by Luxembourg’s Millicom International Cellular (MIC) launched their LTE-2100 networks in five and four cities respectively.