State-owned Venezuelan cellco Movilnet, a division of national telco CANTV, switched on its long-awaited 4G LTE network on 22 January, local news site Noticias 24 has confirmed. The network has reportedly been jointly funded with Chinese investment, and vendor duo Huawei and ZTE are both credited with supplying 4G equipment. Movilnet president Jacqueline Faria noted that 221 of the cellco’s roughly 1,700 base transceiver stations (BTS) are LTE-capable, while the 4G platform is said to be capable of delivering downlink transmission speeds of up to 65Mbps.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database confirms that Movilnet, Venezuela’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, received an LTE-suitable spectrum licence in December 2014, comprising a 2×10MHz block of AWS (2100MHz/1700MHz) frequencies. Licensing conditions stipulated an LTE service launch within twelve months (i.e. by December 2015), covering Venezuela’s 20 most populous zones, but this was delayed due to myriad economic factors; telecoms operators suffer from an equipment and handset shortfall largely caused by a lack of foreign currency.
Rival operators Digitel and Movistar switched on LTE networks in July 2013 (1800MHz band) and February 2015 (AWS band), respectively.