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MEXICO CITY, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Mexico has invited six telecom equipment makers to participate in field tests that will lay the groundwork for the launch of a new national mobile broadband network, a government minister said on Wednesday.
Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies Co, NEC Corp, Nokia Solutions Networks and ZTE Corp were all invited to take part in the tests, Deputy Communications Minister Jose Ignacio Peralta told reporters.
He said the invitations did not mean all six companies would be participating in the tests, which will help the government collect real-time information about a 4G/LTE network in the 700 MHz frequency band.
Mexico's government, which estimates the network will require an investment of about $10 billion over 10 years, is aiming to publish the initial terms of the tender to build and run the network in December and pick a winner in mid-2015.
The government has already received an unsolicited bid for the project, which Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson helped craft, sources told Reuters earlier this year.
If the consortium's bid wins, those companies could be key suppliers of mobile antennae and other gear as well as manage the network, although they have not signed formal contracts yet, according to the sources. (Reporting by Tomas Sarmiento; Additional reporting by Christine Murray; Editing by Tom Brown)