After offering mobile Internet access using a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model, Colombian operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota (ETB) has added mobile voice to its offering. ETB will provide the service using Tigo’s mobile network.
“ETB’s incursion into mobile telephony allows the operator to diversify its service portfolio and seek organic revenue growth,” said Jose Otero, president of Signals Consulting. “Additionally, it complies with local political pressures that want the public operator to enter the mobile telephony space.”
Initially, the commercial launch of ETB’s mobile telephony services was scheduled for Jan. 19, as RCR Wireless News reported, but it was postponed until April 18.
ETB is delivering its first 1,700 SIM cards to mobile customers across the country. Customers can acquire prepaid SIM cards free of charge by filling a form at the operator’s website. ETB will deliver SIM cards to customers in the Bogota, Cundinamarca, and the Llanos Orientales areas.
ETB first started offering data services under the brand name Internet Móvil ETB in 2010, said Otero. The new launch will allow the operator to strengthen its service offerings in the market, but Otero said it is unlikely that the ETB mobile offering will result in strong subscriber growth in the short term.
Recent changes in Colombia’s legal framework also favors the launch of MVNOs. Currently, there are three MVNOs operating in Colombia — UFF, Une and ETB — with more expected. “Metrotel and Emcali are negotiating,” Otero said during an interview for an in-depth feature report about the telecommunications sector in Colombia.