Claro Chile conducts LTE trials, plans to launch service early next year

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Claro Chile said it has conducted trials using LTE technology with the goal of launching services during the first quarter of 2013. According to the rules set by Chilean telecom regulator Subtel, telecom operators have 12 months starting from July this year when LTE licenses were awarded to deploy networks.

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Gerardo Muñoz, Claro’s GM, said that LTE is a key part of its annual $500 million investment plan. Muñoz noted this amount has been used for improving coverage, increasing signal reach and deploying networks.

Claro, which is part of the América Móvil group, tested the technology in Ciudad Empresarial in partnership with Nokia Siemens Networks. For the trials, Claro used Motorola’s Razr HD smartphone, and routers and modems from LG.

According to NSN, its contract with Claro includes the implementation of the LTE access network nationally and the evolved packet core. In addition, NSN will be responsible for the modernization of 2G technology radio base station in Chile’s capital Santiago.

Claro, Movistar and Entel were awarded LTE licenses in the country’s July auction. The three carriers paid about $12.26 million to buy licenses to deploy LTE across the country. Subtel had made 120 megahertz available in the 2.6 GHz band for bidding.

Subtel expects that the three carriers together will invest more than $233.45 million.

Internet penetration in Chile reached 53.6% of all households in September, according to Subtel. The agency also announced that Internet penetration per-capita jumped from 13% in December 2009 to 34% in June 2012, reaching a level the government had originally projected for 2014.

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