Mexican-backed cellco Claro has commercially launched the nation’s first Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the Santiago metropolitan area. The platform was rolled out by Finnish vendor Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), which installed its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations. Claro also unveiled six new LTE-compatible smartphones alongside five tariffs for the new service. Prices range from CLP29,990 (USD59.44) per month – 200 minutes of voice, 2GB of data and 50 SMS – to CLP79,990, which includes 1,000 minutes of calls, 8GB of data use and 50 SMS. Claro claimed that its 4G offerings provide average download speeds of around 10Mbps, approximately ten times higher than the current typical rate. Going forward, the cellco plans to have 98% population coverage by March 2014, with 1,600 LTE-enabled base stations deployed by the end of that year, from its current 300 sites.
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