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June 20, 2012

UNE EPM Introduces 4G in Colombia's Two Largest Cities: Bogota and Medellin

The publically owned UNE EPM is making the fifth attempt on record to bring broadband to the country. Subscribers can purchase contracts for either six or eight GB per-month for $50. Pre-paid packages will also be available to Colombians.

UNE EPM won an auction in 2010 of a 2.5 GHz chunk for the broadcast spectrum in the area and received an investment of $130 for the project by a Colombian telecommunications company called Antioquia.

Felipe Castro Cervantes, Editor of TIME Telecommunications Company of Bogotá (ETB), wrote that UNE EPM's 4G system will offer data transfer speeds ten to twenty times faster than those currently available to broadband subscribers in the region.

Yankee Group Senior VP of Research Wally Swain remains pessimistic regarding UNE EPM's latest broadband venture in Colombia. Though he is confident in the company's ability to convince people who already have some form of broadband to upgrade to the new network they offer, the general public will probably not bite. People who do not already use these types of services, Swain argues, are unlikely to start using them simply because of UNE EPM's shiny new offerings. He calls it "yet another bureaucratic project."

Two recent reports counter balance this doom-and-gloom forecast for UNE EPM's 4G plans for Colombia:

Research and Markets' "Colombia Telecommunications Report Q2 2012" estimated a jump over 1.5 million new subscribers in the third quarter of 2011.

UNE-EPM's last effort to introduced a new communications technology in Colombia faired extremely well. Collaborating with Orca, UNE-EPM brought Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) to Medellín in late 2007.

Now, forward-looking numbers from the British company, Digital TV Research, estimate that over 40 million people will have access to IPTV in their homes by 2017. Out of all countries in South America with access to this type of service, more Colombians (seven percent) subscribe to it than any other countries. The runner up is Chile with six percent.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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