UNE EPM to start LTE services in Bogotá, Medellín

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RIO DE JANEIRO – Colombia’s public telecom operator UNE EPM will start providing LTE services first in Bogota and Medellín, and then expand to other big cities.

Although Dorian Guillermo Correa, LTE networks implantation leader at UNE EPM, could not provide any commercial launch details, he said that during the first phase, UNE EPM will deploy 600 nodes in Bogotá and Medellín, with technology provided by Huawei. The second phase will involve 230 nodes deployed in Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena and Bucaramanga, with Ericsson as a tech partner.

Last November, UNE EPM revealed that it had installed the country’s first antenna signal transmission to LTE commercial operations ahead of schedule.

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Currently, the carrier is conducting trials. Correa explained at Informa’s LTE Latin America event this week that UNE EPM will start by selling dongles for mobile broadband Internet access.

The company’s LTE journey began in 2010, when the carrier paid U.S.$40 million bid for a 50 megahertz, 10-year license in the 2.5 GHz band. According to the roadmap, starting from September 30, 2011, UNE EPM had 14 months to deploy LTE to all municipalities with more than 500,000 inhabitants; 20 months to provide LTE services to 80% of municipalities with 250,000 to 500,000 inhabitants; 24 months to cover 80% of municipalities with 100,000 to 250,000; and 30 months to cover every state’s capital city.

Correa explained that the LTE implementation is focused on five main strategies: information systems; backhaul and transport; LTE RAN and core networks; sites; and fallback 3G network. The carrier is also considering co-sharing with others wireless telecom operators.

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