Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haiti's Voila to Double International Capacity, 90% of Cell Sites Online

Haiti's Voila mobile network will double its international long distance (ILD) capacity over the coming days to handle unprecedented call volumes between Haiti and other countries.

Trilogy International Partners, which holds a controlling stake in Voila along with Viva, a sister network in the Dominican Republic, said round-the-clock effort have been underway to restore the network since the earthquake on January 12.

Voila and its sister companies' technical engineering teams have visited all of Voila's cell sites in Haiti and nearly 90 percent are operational. Technical engineers have determined that many of the remaining sites can be repaired. For those sites that were destroyed by the earthquake, Voila is shipping in "cells on wheels" (COWs) -- mobile cell towers. A number of COWs are already in use in Haiti, and Voila expects delivery this week of additional COWs and high-capacity generators donated to Voila by T-Mobile and Sprint.

The company said it is working closely with the government of the United States to maintain access to fuel, the government of Haiti to increase spectrum, and the United Nations to move supplies across the critical land corridor from the Dominican Republic to Port-au-Prince. Additionally, Trilogy has received support from the US Navy, which transported immediate critical pieces of the network infrastructure from Florida to Haiti on an emergency aid ship.

  • In September 1998, Communication Cellulaire d'Haiti ("ComCEL") was awarded a license to construct and operate a nationwide TDMA mobile communications network. ComCEL launched commercial service in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in September 1999. ComCEL was purchased by Trilogy in 2005. The following year was spent overlaying ComCEL's legacy TDMA network with GSM, expanding its coverage footprint and migrating its TDMA base to the new network. In mid-2006, the TDMA to GSM migration was complete and the TDMA network was retired.