Avantel gearing up for Q3 launch
Colombian wireless network operator Avantel expects to launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) services by the end of Q3 2014, Telecompaper writes citing an interview with company president Jorge Andres Palacios in local daily Vanguardia. Avantel was awarded 4G spectrum in June 2013 and subsequently enlisted Finnish vendor Nokia to supply its network, including its Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) solution to ensure that Avantel will be able to provide voice services to its 4G data customers. However, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the operator has encountered difficulties in securing access to the networks of incumbent cellcos. Under the terms of the carriers’ 4G licences, existing cellcos were obliged to provide national roaming for newcomers to ensure their smooth entry into the wireless market.
Such deals were not forthcoming, and in early 2014 Avantel sought intervention from the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC), claiming that incumbents Claro, Tigo and Movistar had refused to sign roaming pacts. Tigo responded by saying that Avantel did not satisfy the basic requirements for automatic national roaming, adding that it had attempted to resolve the shortcomings. Nevertheless, Avantel pressed the issue, demanding the cancellation of the trio’s 4G licences on the grounds that they had violated the terms of their concessions. The regulator opted to support the newcomer and instructed the incumbents to open their networks to Avantel for automatic national roaming. Ensuring that the trio meet that deadline, the CRC offered to provide technical support to implement the service.