Vietnamese-owned Viettel, an operator with assets in Haiti and Peru, has shown interest in expanding into other Latin American markets. Viettel announced it will start operating in Peru in January 2013, approximately two years after the carrier secured a 25 MHz spectrum license in the 1.9 GHz band. Initially, Viettel might exhibit a low proportion of users/spectrum, which could position it to be a potential host for virtual mobile operators (MVNOs), including Virgin Mobile, which obtained an MVNO license in the last quarter of 2011.
By beginning in Peru, Viettel will be competing in a market that in 4Q11 registered more than 89% mobile penetration nationwide and 100% in the metropolitan area of Lima/Callao. Mobile services in Peru are governed by a “duopoly” between Telefónica’s Movistar and Claro, which also have a presence in the fixed market with Telefónica accounting for 88% of the market share.
The third competitor for Viettel is Nextel, which originally focused almost exclusively on the corporate sector but is currently redefining its business model. In 4Q11, Nextel held 5.38% of the active lines in the market. All three operators offer 3G+ services with a strong focus on wireless Internet access.