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Nextel likely to delay Chilean service for a year

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina-Pyramid Research does not expect Nextel to launch its digital service in Chile within the next 12 months, according to a report conducted by Carlos Rodriguez and Daniel Torras.

The consultancy gave three fundamental reasons for the delay. A new competitive wave has been created since the auction of personal communications services (PCS) licenses on the 1900 MHz band, NII Holdings lacks the funds to carry out an investment of such a scale, and the legal dispute against the service undertaken by the other four cellular phone operators in the country is a roadblock.

The Chilean newspaper Estrategia has a similar view to that of Pyramid Research. According to the paper, on strictly judicial grounds, the company must wait until the Court of Appeals resolves the case presented by the four cellular operators and the Mobile Telephone Association against the provisory authorization granted to Nextel by the government on 16 April. Moreover, these operators could turn to the Supreme Court in the event that the ruling goes against them, which could cause an even longer delay in the launch of the mobile communications service integrated through a Nextel digital network.

The company has operated analog trunking in Chile since last year. It has invested US$30 million in the construction of its own network and in buying nine trunking companies, which were consolidated by the companies Centennial and Multikom. At the moment, Nextel has approximately 7, 000 customers and provides an analog service to the cities of Santiago, Valpara

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