LIMA, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Peru has opted for secure wireless broadband networks across the country as part of the government's drive to regenerate regions held back by years of underdevelopment and chronic poverty.
The new network was installed by VelaTel Global Communications, Inc., which previously operated as ChinaTel Group.
The wireless broadband is vital in Peru's campaign to stimulate its rural economic infrastructure, bedeviled for years by drug trafficking, high crime rates and security issues. Poor communications have hampered economic activity and affected government operations.
Peruvian President Ollanta Humala last month pledged to steer the country toward greater economic freedom.
Among ambitious but long-standing plans has been a projected integration of the stock exchanges of Peru, Colombia and Chile. All sides now admit the financial integration plan may be further delayed as telecommunications, inter-government infrastructure and security issues are examined.
VelaTel's GO MOVIL wireless broadband access network went live Monday in eight cities across Peru. The network provides the first true 4G broadband Internet access in Peru to about 5 million inhabitants.
The network will offer subscribers a variety of low-cost prepaid service plans and various devices for accessing the Internet in both fixed and mobile ways, which will be sold in company operated GO MOVIL stores.
Customers are also able to recharge their plans through a network of distributors in grocery and convenience stores, gas stations and other locations.
VelaTel has headquarters in San Diego and has ongoing operations in China. The company has set sights on expanding in Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.
As part of his vision of Peru's modernization, Humala last month set out plans to forge closer political and security links with neighbors and singled out Argentina as a long-term partner. Argentina is host to one of the largest Peruvian expatriate communities -- about 300,000 people -- and has maintained close links with Lima.
During the 1982 Falklands War, Peru supplied Argentina with aircraft, spares, missiles and intelligence gathering, after early attempts to mediate in the dispute between Argentina and Britain over the South Atlantic territories.
The close alliance, however, meant distancing from Chile but plans for the joint stock exchange indicate a change of heart. The third partner in the planned joint stock exchange, Colombia, has traditionally been closer to Chile than to Peru but analysts said regional realignments could be taking shape.
The telecommunications upgrade would also enable Peru to pursue closer links with the Mercosur trade bloc, Humala aides indicated.
"It's important that Peru participates in the Mercosur political mechanisms. It could help solve domestic issues," Humala said during a regional tour that took him to Uruguay as well.