Telecom Italia’s Brazilian subsidiary TIM Brasil has revealed plans to invest BRL3 billion (USD1.75 billion) in 2012, with a primary focus on improving its 2G, 3G and fibre-optic capacity. TIM Brasil president Luca Luciani is quoted as saying his company ploughed BRL2.9 billion into its networks and services in FY2011, in the process doubling 2G capacity and extending its 3G footprint to almost 500 municipalities. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database confirms that by the end of December TIM Brasil’s GSM coverage reached 94.4% of the urban population, serving 3,294 cities at that date. Further, the operator’s network was 100% GPRS-enabled, while 2,127 cities (80%) were covered by EDGE and 488 municipalities (66.6%) had a 3G signal.
Luciani says that in 2012 TIM Brasil is focusing on developing its mobile broadband capacity, which he believes will eclipse fixed voice and fixed broadband in the medium-term to become Brazil’s second largest market segment by 2016. The official also confirmed that TIM Brasil may not participate in the May auction of 3G frequencies. His comments come soon after he warned that Brazil’s telecoms authorities must auction 700MHz band spectrum for mobile operators if high speed broadband services such as 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) are to be offered to the entire nation, instead of concentrating on upcoming 2.5GHz frequency auctions. At the time Luciani hinted that TIM was considering ignoring the government’s planned 2.5GHz and 450MHz spectrum sales in May if a plan to distribute 700MHz licences is not forthcoming.
TIM Brasil reported a 19.4% year-on-year increase in fourth-quarter revenues to BRL4.7 billion, although net profit fell to BRL405 million in October-December 2011 from BRL1.9 billion a year earlier ago due to a one-off tax benefit. However, for full-year 2011, TIM’s net profit rose by 66% to BRL1.3 billion, on annual revenues which climbed 18% to BRL17.1 billion.