Brazil is currently implementing LTE/4G technology. The major Brazilian telecommunications companies are fighting against time to implement LTE in the country by the beginning of the international events that will be hosted in 2014 and 2016. In this article you will find out how LTE is being implemented in Brazil.
The first 4G networks for mobile phones are based on the Long Term Evolution – LTE – and must be installed by the end of 2014 in Brazil, since the country will host the FIFA World Cup the same year. The event will attract people from all parts of the world and will require a mobile broadband with a velocity superior to that of the 3G networks. In addition to the world cup, Brazil will host another important global event in 2016: the Olympic Games, which will increase demand for high speed mobile telephone networks to the whole country.
The 4G networks are already being installed in Brazil and must be implemented in the coming months of 2013, according to Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações, also known as Anatel, which is the National Agency of Telecommunication. However, this new high speed technology will take time to begin operating in every Brazilian municipality.
Anatel LTE/ 4G Auction in Brazil
On April 27th 2012, Anatel announced that the host cities of 2013 Confederations Cup will be the first Brazilian cities to have their networks updated to LTE/ 4G. An auction of the 2.5 GHz wavelength was organized by the agency the same year. The auction raised 2.93 billion BRL and of the 270 total lots, only 54 were sold. The four principal lots were sold for 2.56 billion BRL to Claro, Oi, TIM and Vivo bidding the highest amount to operate on the frequency of 2.5 GHz for the national coverage of 4G.
With the new technology, it will be possible to transmit data with speeds up to 10x faster than 3G. The lack of company interest to acquire wavelengths of 450 Mhz – that will be used to offer mobile phone services in rural areas – made it mandatory that companies who acquire the 2.5 GHz frequency provide this service to rural areas as well.
The broadband in rural areas must be developed by Claro in Amazonas, Amapá. Acre, Bahia. Maranhão, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins and the metropolitan area of São Paulo. While Vivo will have to provide broadband services to rural areas in Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba and the state of São Paulo excluding the metropolitan area of São Paulo.
The main objective of the Anatel auction was to meet the increasing demand in Brazil for faster telecommunications services and offer the necessary infrastructure for the international events of 2014 and 2016 that the country will host.
Implementation of LTE in Brazilian Cities
The distribution of LTE technology is following an specific order that prioritizes the cities that will receive the first Cup games. The cities that hosted the 2013 Confederations Cup already have LTE/4G services:
The cities that will receive 2014 World Cup and do not have this technology implemented already, must have LTE/4G until December, 31 of 2013:
And all Brazilian cities with more than 100 thousand citizens must have this type of mobile telephone network installed by December, 31 of 2016.
Brazil: LTE Costs and Frequencies
There are two types of LTE/4G frequencies:
- The 700 MHz frequency that offers a wider transmission range with the utilization of less radio antennas, which provides more efficiency for the system, reduces costs for telecommunication operators and guarantees a better price to the consumer.
- The 2.5 GHz frequency requires more investments from the telecommunications operators, which results in higher prices for the Brazilian consumers.
The 700 GHz frequency has more positive aspects than the 2.5 GHz frequency. However, the 2.5 GHz frequency is being installed in Brazil. The problem of installing the 700 GHz frequency is that all Brazilian analog TV broadcasts transmit on the same frequency. It is necessary to free up space on the spectrum for it to be possible to fully utilize 4G networks.
Brazilian Government: Investment and Incentives
The Federal Government committed to solving the lack of fiber optics with the creation of a special regime of taxation that established the exemption of IPI, PIS and Cofins for new broadband projects in Brazil called REPNBL, REPES and Lei da Informática.
The projects will provide 6 billion BRL tax breaks. The government's expectation is that the new measures will encourage operators to invest 20 billion BRL in advance of the 70 billion BRL total that this sector estimates to receive by 2016 in addtional investments.
Mobile Operators and Distribution of LTE in Brazil
The company Claro has moved ahead and became the first operator to commercially launch this type of service in the city of Recife, Pernambuco. But Oi, TIM and Vivo have already launched 4G services as well. In addition to all the host cities of the Confederations Cup, Claro and Vivo have launched their LTE networks in other cities in Brazil.
Distribution of Brazilian Cities' LTE/4G networks by provider Companies:
| Northeast: Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador || Northeast: Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador || Northeast: Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador || Northeast: Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador |
| South: Curitiba and Porto Alegre || South: - || South: - || South: - |
| Southeast: Búzios, Campos do Jordão, Parati, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo || Southeast: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and São Paulo ABC region - Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo and São Caetano do Sul. || Southeast: Rio de Janeiro || Southeast: Rio de Janeiro |
| East: Belo Horizonte || East: Belo Horizonte || East: Belo Horizonte || East: Belo Horizonte |
| Center West: Brasília || Center West: Brasília || Center West: Brasília || Center West: Brasília |