State-backed cellco Une-EPM has announced that it has invested USD850,000 to roll out Long Term Evolution (LTE) services to Tunja, raising the number of cities covered by the operator’s 4G network to 43. Tunja’s network consists of 17 base stations, supplied by Chinese vendor Huawei, which cover 80% of the city. The telco markets its LTE service both for cellular users and as an alternative to fixed line connections for residential broadband services.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Une-EPM was the first operator to launch LTE in Colombia, activating its network in June 2012. Une-EPM is currently planning to merge with Millicom Internationl Cellular (MIC)-backed cellco Tigo Colombia, in which Une-EPM holds a 49.99% stake. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of May this year and will see Une-EPM take a 50% plus one share stake in the combined entity, although MIC will retain operational and administrative control of the firm. MIC will also clear more than COP181.4 billion (USD94 million) of Une-EPM’s debts.