The Government of Ecuador has concluded negotiations to award 4G LTE mobile licences to the country’s two private sector cellcos, America Movil-backed Conecel (Claro Ecuador) and Telefonica subsidiary Movistar Ecuador, for a total price of USD330 million, telecoms regulator Conecel reports on its website. Following confirmation from Minister of Telecommunication & Information Society Augusto Espin Tobar, on 2 February 2015 Conatel approved terms and technical, economic and legal conditions for the allocation of an additional 60MHz of frequencies to largest operator Claro for USD180 million, and a 50MHz spectrum allocation costing rival Movistar USD150 million, with the watchdog confirming that the licence awards include ‘a portion of spectrum to improve the quality of 3G services.’ As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Minister Espin last month disclosed that the portions of spectrum included the AWS (1700MHz/2100MHz) band – to be utilised for LTE – and the 1900MHz band – for expanding 3G, while an expansion of import quotas for LTE smartphones was also negotiated. State-owned Corporacion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CNT) currently operates Ecuador’s only 4G LTE service, utilising the AWS band. Ecuador’s National Secretary of Telecommunications, Ing Ana Proano, was quoted in Conecel’s press release as saying: ‘The additional allocation of spectrum for advanced mobile service is a direct benefit for citizens, since it will improve the quality of 3G and 4G, deliver[ing] new services across the territory,’ whilst noting that licensed operators of advanced mobile services must roll out new voice and data coverage across specified territory (‘990km highway’). TeleGeography notes that Claro and Movistar currently offer 2G/3G services in the 850MHz and 1900MHz bands, and the new AWS and 1900MHz frequencies will be added to their 15 year licences which were renewed in 2008 (expiring in 2023).
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