Two of Colombia’s three major cellular operators have announced the launch of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. Telefonica subsidiary Movistar and Millicom-backed Tigo are both now offering LTE-based mobile broadband access in the cities of Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla and Bucaramanga, while Movistar has also launched in Cali, El Tiempo reports. Movistar expects to be covering 58 cities by July next year with investments of COP700 trillion (USD362 million). Wireless market leader Claro is also set to introduce LTE technology on a commercial basis, having already begun marketing 4G-capable handsets. The three cellular operators, plus DirecTV and Avantel, were awarded LTE spectrum in June this year; Movistar, Tigo/ETB and Avantel won 2100MHz/1700MHz licences, while Claro and DirecTV successfully bid for 2.5GHz concessions. Une-EPM launched the nation’s first LTE network in June 2012 in Medellin and Bogota, using frequencies in the the 2500MHz-2690MHz range. Une is currently in the process of merging with Tigo, and will control 50% plus one share in the combined entity, although Tigo will assume operational and administrative control. The merger is expected to be completed by May 2014.
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