Entel, Ericsson claim first LatAm live APT700 test

Chilean operator Entel and infrastructure vendor Ericsson have completed what they said is the first Latin American live LTE network test over the APT700MHz spectrum. The trial involved the deployment of 10 test sites with equipment using the frequency band in Rancagua city in Chile.

Entel, which in February this year won one of three licences on the APT700MHz frequency in Chile, aims to move its entire nationwide 4G network on the said band during the next 12 months. The operator said this will provide better coverage for all its customers despite of their location.

“The APT700MHz band has the ability to provide excellent in-building coverage as well as wide area coverage in suburban and rural areas,” Antonio Büchi, Entel CEO said.

“We expect, once we have the release by the government, to deploy our nationwide network. Our customers will benefit from an LTE mobile broadband service featuring a combination of high speed, improved throughput and low latency, all of which combine to provide an enhanced user experience.”

The APT700MHz band is widely promoted as the future universal frequency for LTE. APT700MHz, also known as the Digital Dividend, is being made available from previous use by analogue and digital TV and radio channels. According to the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association), the band is especially suited for LTE because of its ability to provide good coverage both in urban and rural areas, as well as indoors.

“This test marks another significant milestone for Ericsson and Entel, and further consolidates our network leadership in the region, Nicolas Brancoli, Ericsson Latin America VP, said.

“This is the latest in a number of successful technology trials undertaken with Entel aimed at readying the operator’s network for the release of the APT700MHz digital dividend.  Ericsson has led the development and championed widespread acceptance of the APT700MHz band, creating a global LTE ecosystem opportunity that benefits both consumers and operators.”

As the development for the next generation of LTE, 5G, gathers phase, we are bound to see more APT700MHz deployments across the globe. The industry seems to be pretty unified in agreeing 5G should come hand-in-hand with a more harmonised global spectrum market, and it seems APT700MHz has been pinned as the chosen band. In the UK, Ofcom has pledged to release 700MHz for mobile use by 2022.

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