Vietnamese-owned cellco Bitel has set a target of achieving a market share of 10% within the next one to two years, and is planning to spend around USD200 million on infrastructure development by early 2017 to help meet that goal. In an interview with El Comercio, the newcomer’s general manager, Tao Duc Thang explained that a large section of the population in the interior still do not have access to mobile telephony or internet and that Bitel would expand by meeting the needs of these unserved Peruvians. Regarding the recent 700MHz spectrum auction, the official noted that it did not bid aggressively for the airwaves – which were ultimately awarded to the trio of incumbents – as it felt it could more efficiently use the funds elsewhere. By saving on the spectrum auction, the operator claims it is now able to use the funds to install up to 1,000 new antennas and expand its fibre-optic network, which currently spans more than 20,000km. The fibre expansion will build on an agreement to utilise the 13,500km National Fibre Optic Backbone (Red Dorsal Nacional de Fibra Optica, RDNFO), which is due to become operational later this month. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Bitel ended 2015 with 1.231 million mobile customers, up from 322,826 twelve months earlier and equivalent to 3.7% of the total market.
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