During 2009, Chile became the third Latin American country to achieve 100% cell phone penetration. In other words, over 16.7 million mobile telephones exist in the country, whereas land lines are decreasing progressively. But with one cell phone per inhabitant, the operators’ next step is to improve connection speed.
With this aim in mind, the Entel PCS telecommunications company announced that it will begin to conduct field tests of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, also called fourth generation (4G), which will make it possible to achieve speeds of between 50 and over 100 megabits, as compared to the 3.6 megabits offered by the current 3G network.
According to the company’s data, average broadband speeds in Chile range from around 1 to 2 megabits, with only 25% achieving higher values. Thus, the new 4G platform would multiply data transmission greatly, making it possible to support many more on-demand video applications and high-definition and moving applications.
Although the tests will only be starting now, there is still time for the new network to be available for commercial use, with 2011 targeted as a tentative launching date. In fact, the first worldwide deployments of the 4G technology are scheduled for the end of this year and beginning of the next.
In addition, Entel PCS together with the Swedish cell phone manufacturer Ericsson have launched the HSPA+ technology in Chile. By means of a wireless modem, this technology is expected to reach speeds ranging from 3 to 8 megabits and is already available in the major cities of the country.