Mobile operators sign contracts for 3G licences

1 May 2008

Following the successful conclusion of its 3G auction in December 2007, Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel and a number of the country’s mobile operators have signed contracts for rights to offer UMTS services in the country in the 2100MHz band, reports BNamericas citing an Anatel statement. With the contracts in place, the 3G licensees will be expected to provide mobile broadband internet services to more than 3,800 municipalities within eight years. By 2010 the 3G operators will also be required to deliver mobile telephony to 1,836 municipalities, which currently do not have access to these services, benefiting some 17 million people. The 3G licences are valid for 15 years, with an option to renew for a similar term, and under Anatel’s rules operators must cover all state capitals, the Distrito Federal and cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants with 3G within two years. By the end of year four, 3G must be available in all municipalities with more than 200,000 inhabitants it said, rising to 50% after five years in all municipalities with a population of between 30,000 and 100,000. In the same period 100% of the municipalities above 100,000 will have the service. After eight years, at least 60% of municipalities with less than 30,000 inhabitants must have access to the technology.

TIM Brasil has wasted no time in announcing its 3G rollout plans. From 1 May it intends to offer 3G services in the 2100MHz band in the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. It has already launched 3G services at 850MHz in Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Florianopolis, Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador. TIM expects to expand the service quickly to other main metropolitan areas. Not to be outdone, Telecoms Americas (Claro), which has also rolled out 3G at 850MHz, announced the launch of its 3G operations on 30 April on the back of a recent BRL2 billion (USD1.17 billion) CAPEX programme for its 2G and 3G infrastructure networks in 2008.