El Universo reports that mobile operator Movistar Ecuador has begun offering 4G services in the capital, Quito, three months after the Telefonica-owned unit acquired 50MHz of spectrum in the 1900MHz band for Long Term Evolution (LTE). Initially, the cellco’s service is limited to certain parts of the city, although Movistar is allowing users to access its new network at no extra cost, providing they purchase one of the range of 22 4G-ready devices it offers. Movistar becomes the second player in the market to offer 4G, after state-backed National Telecommunications Corporation (aka CNT) launched in December 2013. Last month Telefonica’s local mobile unit revealed plans to invest USD150 million to deploy its 4G LTE network and additional 3G infrastructure following its recent mobile broadband frequency licence win.
Rival cellco Claro, which also acquired LTE frequencies in the 1900MHz band along with Movistar, said last week that its 4G service will be available ‘soon’, without specifying a date. The privately-run operators paid a total of USD330 million for the concessions which are valid until 2023.