Venezuelan state-owned cellco Movilnet intends to continue expanding and upgrading its GSM and CDMA network infrastructure throughout 2008, company president Jacqueline Faria said in a statement from parent CANTV, reported by BNamericas. Without giving specific figures, Faria said Movilnet will continue to invest in modernising its existing CDMA2000 1x network after full commercial launch of GSM services takes place, scheduled for May. Movilnet deployed 65 base stations in 2007, improving coverage in twelve states and bringing the total number of cellular sites to 442. Under a government plan, it intends to expand mobile coverage to all municipalities with over 500 inhabitants. Faria said that Movilnet currently has 9.18 million subscribers, adding that it signed up 1.3 million new customers since being nationalised last May, thanks to new packages and lower rates. However, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, rival Movistar Venezuela, owned by Spain’s Telefonica, ended 2007 with 9.434 million mobile subscribers, after overtaking the CANTV unit in the fourth quarter of the year. Movistar also serves 996,000 fixed-wireless telephony users, and added to its CDMA-based range when it soft launched GSM services in December 2006. Digitel, the smallest of Venezuela’s three operators, ended 2007 with nearly five million GSM users, up from 2.9 million at end-2006, after building 260 new base stations in the year, and expects to increase its customer base to seven million this year.
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