Hondutel franchisee turns on lines

Bnamericas Published: Monday, June 07, 2004
Honduran cable firm Sulatel, a participant in state-run fixed line incumbent Hondutel's franchise program, inaugurated the first phone line of the "telephony for all" program, according to a government statement. Honduran president Ricardo Maduro made the first call on a line from franchisee Sulatel, owned by Grupo Insetec, which owns another four franchises, Cablesula, Multicom, Sulanet and Sulavision, scheduled to begin operations on July 1 in the San Pedro de Sula market and cover the bay islands and Santa Bárbara. Sulatel's program will initially offer services to 20,000 people. "To be the first company to enter the market is the fruit of our efforts and an investment that could reach US$40mn in all of its phases," Grupo Insetec president Jorge Canahuati was reported as saying. Sulatel uses internet protocol (IP) telephone technology, which will enable the provider to offer telephone, internet and cable television. The technology will permit the installation of 125,000 more lines this year. The phone service will charge similar rates to Hondutel in other parts of the country. Hondutel started the franchise program last year in an effort to increase telephony services in parts of the country beyond its reach. A total of 32 companies signed up and Hondutel officials report it would mean 200,000 more phone lines for the country. Of those participating, 27 firms will contract with Hondutel to offer services and 9 will have interconnection contracts. Hondutel currently administers 400,000 lines, wireless provider Celtel has 500,000 mobile lines and Megatel counts 200,000 GSM lines.

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