DirecTV is set to become Colombia’s fifth 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) provider with a commercial launch of the new service scheduled to take place ‘in the second half’ of this year in three cities, writes Portafolio.co. The data-only service will be made available under the DirecTV NET brand in Santa Marta, Cali and Barranquilla initially, with internet connection speeds of 2Mbps, 4Mbps and 6Mbps, according to marketing vice-president Maria Elvira Restrepo, while expansion to Bogota is expected to follow soon afterwards. DirecTV aims to provide coverage of all 57 municipal capitals within five years, with Palmira, Barrancabermeja, Chia, Monteria and Riohacha mentioned in initial announcements. ‘We’re doing tests. Once we feel safe to launch, and that the customer is satisfied, we will begin to deploy the service [commercially],’ the executive added. Following a similar pattern to rival LTE provider Une-EPM, DirecTV will provide a fixed modem-based 4G offering, pitching the service as an alternative to fixed line broadband rather than as a mobile solution for smartphones and tablets, according to BNamericas. However, the operator noted that it may introduce ‘complimentary’ services in the future. Colombia’s 4G market is currently served by incumbent cellcos Movistar, Claro and Tigo, whilst broadband provider Une-EPM has also thrown its hat into the ring. Newcomer Avantel is set to launch its own service soon, as is state-backed broadband provider ETB.
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