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Tricom agreement adds 6,000 to ClaroCom base

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Panamanian startup fixed line operator ClaroCom now has a client base of more than 8,500 since it is leasing E1 lines to fellow entrant Tricom (NYSE: TDR) for the use of Tricom's 6,000 digital trunking clients, ClaroCom corporate VP Pedro Cordovez told BNamericas. Serving Tricom's clients created sudden demand for connectivity, but ClaroCom does not yet have an interconnection agreement with the mobile division of incumbent operator Cable & Wireless Panama (C&WP), and has asked the regulator ERSP to help speed negotiations, Panamanian daily La Prensa reported. The ERSP has responded by arranging a meeting between the two operators, ERSP head Alex Arroyo told the paper. C&WP corporate matters VP Roberto Mendoza said interconnection testing is still underway, while Cordovez specified to BNamericas that ClaroCom is evaluating an offer by C&WP to access its mobile network via the C&WP fixed line network. ClaroCom secured interconnection to the incumbent's fixed line network in December 2002, enabling it to launch in February this year. The carrier also has interconnection with Panama's second mobile operator BellSouth. The lack of access to C&WP's mobile clients has hampered uptake at ClaroCom, but Cordovez does expect steady growth of its long distance client base. Cordovez told BNamericas an added hindrance to the company's development is a lack of initiative by the ERSP to license 2.7-3.5Gb bandwidth for wireless local loop activities. "The bandwidth is free and we have been requesting access to it for over 17 months," he said, adding that several other operators are also keen to use that spectrum for local telephony and data.

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