Ecuadorian government-owned fixed, mobile and broadband operator Corporacion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CNT) has deployed LTE mobile broadband network infrastructure, according to local news agency Andes, although a commercial launch date is yet to be announced. Ecuador’s telecoms regulator Conatel awarded CNT spectrum suitable for the provision of LTE services in December 2012, including 30MHz in the 700MHz band and 40MHz in the 2100MHz/1700MHz AWS band, setting it up to become the first LTE operator in the country, with private sector cellcos Movistar and Claro yet to be issued 4G concessions. Having earmarked USD30 million for an initial LTE rollout in January 2013, a commercial launch was expected by mid-year, according to CNT’s general manager Cesar Regalado, although it was not until May that Huawei Technologies of China was officially selected as the main technology partner to deploy the new network. Reportedly, LTE user costs will be kept low under the government’s digital inclusion programme. Regalado was previously quoted as saying that 700MHz spectrum was being utilised to cover a wide rural LTE footprint, while the 1900MHz frequency band was also being used for ‘4G’ coverage in urban areas; he was apparently referring to UMTS-1900 W-CDMA/HSPA (3.5G) services, which CNT has deployed in cities across the country at hundreds of base station sites, in contrast to Movistar and Claro which have deployed UMTS-850 services while using the 1900MHz band for GSM services.
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