Colombia moves toward LTE in 700 MHz; Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson to conduct tests

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Colombia telecom regulators seem to be moving toward enabling spectrum in the 700 MHz band, internationally known as the digital dividend, to enhance high-speed mobile Internet benefits in rural areas. The National Spectrum Agency (ANE) announced that Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson will conduct tests in the band under the standard APT pipeline in the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, using equipment developed by the leading manufacturers.

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Colombia, Brazil and Mexico are also making efforts to use the 700 MHz band. Mexico’s Federal Commission of Telecommunications (Cofetel) voted to adopt the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) band plan for the 700 MHz band for mobile services. In Brazil, telecom agency Anatel has said this spectrum band  is “extremely important” to advancing LTE coverage in the country.

In Colombia, the ICT Ministry said it will award spectrum in the 700 MHz band, after the digitization of analog television. ANE noted last May that it adopted APT band plan, which allows 50% more efficient spectrum use, better performance against interference, equipment interoperability among operators and reduced network deployment costs, reaping the benefits of increased coverage and huge economies of scale thanks to its adoption by several Southeast Asian countries, representing 60% of the world’s population.

These decisions have facilitated the establishment of an agreement between Colombia and the three technology vendors to perform LTE network tests in the 700 MHz band with the APT band plan.

The Chinese-owned Huawei, which already has its equipment ready, will conduct testing during the last quarter of 2012, while ZTE and Ericsson are planning tests for the first quarter of 2013.

In a statement, ANE noted that the tests are intended to show the benefits of LTE network coverage in this band and encourage other countries in the region to accelerate decisions to adopt the standard APT pipeline and advance allocation processes as soon as possible, even before the digital switch over.

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