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WIRELESS TELECOM SERVICES.

The wireless telecom industry has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years, says the American Embassy-Guatemala City. In 1990, only 295 mobile phones were in use in Guatemala. Today, four major international telecom companies are operating and actively investing and offering services in the country. More than 700,000 mobile phones are now in active use:

Since the opening of the market in 1996, several foreign telecom companies including Telmex (Telgua's owner and operator, with an estimated 200,000 mobile telephony customers) have or will invest in the Guatemalan market. Telmex said it will invest US$350 million during 2000/2001 mainly in wireless, fixed based and international services;

Telefonica from Spain is now providing wireless, international, Internet and Call Center services. Less than a year since it started operations, Telefonica has around 100,000 subscribers for its wireless service and expects to invest more money in expanding its coverage area to service the whole country in a very short period of time;

Millicom, from Luxembourg, is probably the strongest player in Guatemala. Millicom was a minor partner of a Guatemalan investment group in charge of Comcel, for years a monopoly in the mobile telephony industry. Millicom has acquired enough shares to control Comcel and has since then invested around US$40 million to upgrade Comcel's network and to convert it from an analog system to a digital TDMA protocol system. Comcel/Millicom is the only company using TDMA technology in Guatemala. Comcel (with over 350,000 wireless subscribers) will invest another US$15 million in order to provide wireless fixed-based services, satellite television and data services to its customers before the end of the first semester of 2001;

Bellsouth, another important U.S. carrier, is now present in the market, and is expected to rapidly gain market share. BellSouth is currently covering Guatemala City, Escuintla, Sacatepequez and Chimaltenango, but the company plans to soon also cover Mazatenango, Retalhuleu and Coatepequi;

The mobile telephony market is growing at tremendous speed. It is estimated that the mobile telephony industry that today reaches 8% of the total population of Guatemala and will reach 20% (2 million subscribers) in 2001. Details: U.S. Embassy, Trade Specialist Juan Carlos Suchite. Tel: 011-502-331-1541 ext. 4490, Fax: 011-502-331-7373, E-mail: Juan.Carlos.Suchite@mail.doc.gov. And: Jose Orellana Mendizabal, Superintendent, Telecommunications of Guatemala (SIT), 14 Calle 3-51, Zona 10, Edif. Murano Center, Nivel 16, Guatemala City, Guatemala. Tel: 011-502-366-5880. Fax: 011-502-366-5890
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Publication:Caribbean Update
Geographic Code:2GUAT
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Words:406
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