Trunking operator Nextel Chile, present in the country since 2000, offers fully integrated wireless communications that include digital cellular voice, data, wireless internet access, and Nextel Direct Connect services such as International Direct Connect, an extension of Direct Connect and radio feature that allows Nextel subscribers to communicate instantly and across national borders with, among others, Sprint Nextel subscribers in the United States, Telus subscribers in Canada, and, since July 2010, Intelfon subscribers in El Salvador. On September 8, 2009, Nextel Chile was awarded by the country's telecommunications regulator Subtel a license for 60MHz of 3G spectrum in Chile's 1.7/2.1 GHz bands. Nextel Chile, which made a winning offer of roughly US$14.7mn, will use the spectrum to build a new network providing next-generation wireless products and services for local subscribers. Nextel Chile currently has 60,000 subscribers and coverage in Santiago (metropolitan region), Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, San Antonio, San Felipe, Rancagua, Los Andes, Antofagasta and Concepción, accounting for 70% of the population. Following the acquisition of the spectrum, the company began building the necessary infrastructure for expanding coverage across the country and strengthening its stand-out services based on 3G and Push To Talk technology, a special feature on a mobile phone that combines the functionality of a walkie-talkie or 2-way radio with the normal mobile phone. In early 2010, Nextel Chile reported the addition of 377,000 subscribers, an increase of 20% compared to the third quarter of 2009. In December 2010, the firm obtained completion permits from the pertinent authorities, thus meeting all deadlines as stipulated in the concession decree. Nextel is currently undertaking the final development stages through to commercial launch of its mobile services, set for mid-2011, as well as continuing to enact its long-term strategic plan.
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