With investments plans of $130 million, Colombia’s public telecom operator UNE EPM launched LTE services yesterday in Bogota and Medellín. The company said its next steps include expanding the service to Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena and Bucaramanga during the second half of the year, with a goal to have up to 180,000 users by the end of the year.
Last November UNE EPM revealed that it had installed the country’s first antenna for its LTE commercial operations ahead of schedule. Last April, during Informa’s LTE Latin America event, Dorian Guillermo Correa, LTE networks implantation leader at UNE EPM, said 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.
The company’s LTE journey began in 2010, when the carrier paid $40 million for a 50 megahertz, 10-year license in the 2.5 GHz band. According to the roadmap, starting from Sept. 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.