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Three million in rural Chile get connected through public-private partnership


Chile’s government and operator Entel cooperate with Ericsson to connect people in rural locations to mobile telephony and broadband

· Public-private partnership reduces the digital divide, boosts economic growth and brings better quality of life

· Two-year project including deployment of voice services (2G) as well as the latest 3G/HSPA mobile broadband technology

· When deployed, more than 3 million people in rural Chile will be able to access the internet

The Chilean government, Chile’s telecommunications company Entel and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) are together implementing a project to provide 3 million people in remote rural Chile with mobile broadband and mobile telephony by the end of 2011. The first stage of the project - Rural Internet Network: All Chile Communicated - was completed in September this year, by which time 1.7 million people had been connected.

Increasing mobile penetration and reducing the digital divide will not only spur economic growth, but also empower people in these low-income areas by providing them with all that the online world can offer in terms of education, job creation and improved quality of life.

In 2009, Entel and Ericsson won a USD 45 million public contract from the Chilean government to provide broadband access between 70 and 90 percent of the rural population. The two-year end-to-end project includes deployment of core and radio access networks for both 2G and 3G. Ericsson is building, integrating and activating 2G and 3G at about 1,500 rural locations by deploying its main remote base stations, many of the sites for which need to be developed from scratch. Testing and verifying of the radio network to ensure it is performing in line with regulator requirements is also included in the deal, along with the microwave transmission solution, MINI-LINK, a key component that enables a quick rollout of mobile broadband in rural areas with challenging terrain.

Felipe Morande, Chile’s Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, says: “This advance in communication is a historic moment because it will completely change remote rural areas and open up opportunities for millions of people.”

Richard Büchi, Corporate General Manager of Entel, says that mobile connectivity will spur development in many areas: “This project is vital for Chile’s development because it links rural zones to urban areas and to the rest of the world. Now our focus is on getting as many people as possible connected so that they can start benefiting from educational tools, job opportunities, and accessing information - they’re all important for quality of life.”

Nicolas Brancoli, President of Ericsson Chile, says: “This project marks a new milestone in public-private partnerships in Latin America because we’re collaborating in the financing and the development of this connectivity plan. Research shows that a 10 percent increase in mobile penetration in developing countries leads to a 1.2 percent increase in gross domestic product. We hope this project will reduce the digital divide and help increase social and economic empowerment in Chile’s developing regions.”

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Ericsson is the leader in 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, and provides support for networks with over 2 billion subscribers and has the leading position in managed services. The company’s portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and the media industry. The Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson joint ventures provide consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.

Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the “prime driver in an all-communicating world” through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 80,000 employees generated revenue of SEK 206.5 billion (USD 27.1 billion) in 2009. Founded in 1876 with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on OMX NASDAQ, Stockholm and NASDAQ New York.


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