Entel conducts LTE trials in 3.5 GHz band

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RIO DE JANEIRO – Chilean operator Entel PCS is using its 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band to conduct trials of LTE services. The primary focus is on small and medium enterprises with the aim of complementing Internet broadband services provided by ADSL and fiber networks.

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“Our strategy was defined by spectrum,” said Eduardo Durán, head of innovation and development at Entel, at Informa’s LTE Latin America event held in Rio de Janeiro on April 17-18. Entel has also assigned 60 megahertz in the 1.9 GHz band and 20 megahertz in the 900 MHz band.

The project began at the end of last year. It is still not available commercially.

The disadvantage of using 3.5 GHz, explained Durán, is that it is not good for indoor services or mobility, as well as low scale economies for the moment. On the other hand, he noted that “LTE enables operators to support future mobile data demand, performance management and efficiency.” Besides spectrum, the carrier is also looking at available telecom equipment and devices, since its deployment depends on the LTE ecosystem.

Durán told RCR Wireless News that Entel is participating in the auction for 20 megahertz in the 2.6 GHz that Chile’s secretary of telecommunications (Subtel) is conducting. Carriers will present their LTE deployment projects in May, and the best ones will win the spectrum. Entel’s proposal includes national LTE coverage.

Subtel will parcel out three big 20 MHz blocks of frequency for applicants, which may access a maximum of one block. The award will take place during the first half of 2012.

Mobile leads the Chilean telecom market representing 53% of the total industry. Mobile penetration has reached 133%, and 36% of all Internet broadband subscribers are mobile (3G) – making mobile surpass fixed broadband. Currently, Entel accounts for approximately 9 million wireless subscribers (38% of market share).

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