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Lat-Ams Left-wing govts advance on plan for joint telecoms firm

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The discussions are part of the third official telecoms meeting for member countries of the ALBA trade block (Boliviarian alternative for the Americas), devised by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez three years ago.

The member countries aim to agree definitive approval of the venture in December and officially create the company in January 2008. The venture is referred to at present as Gran Nacional ALBA Telecomunicaciones and was first proposed in July 2007.

Other matters discussed at the third ALBA telecoms meeting were rural services, R&D, network infrastructure and media initiatives.

Venezuela is the country that has done most to strive for independence in the telecoms sector, with the creation of national operator CVG Telecom in 2004 (now Telecom Venezuela), nationalization of the incumbent fixed line operator Cantv in January this year and plans to create a telecoms hardware manufacturing firm with the cooperation of Chinese equipment provider Huawei.

Coincidentally, Venezuela hosted a major meeting this week for a high level committee of Venezuelan and Chinese delegates. Venezuela's telecoms minister Jesse Chacon, Cantv head Socorro Hernandez and Telecom Venezuela head Julio Duran met with Chinese counterparts and signed fresh partnership agreements with Chinese firms like Huawei, Technologies, Alcatel Shanghai Bell and ZTE Corporation.

The agreements strengthen the Chinese firms involvement in projects such as Venezuela's planned mobile handset factory, construction of an undersea cable between Venezuela and Cuba, and integration of backbone networks across Venezuela.

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Tags: huawei  zte  shanghai  alcatel  bell  Cuba  Venezuela  Bolivia  Nicaragua