3G coverage reaches 2,883 municipalities, but Oi, TIM falling short on rollout

9 May 2012

According to a report published by Brazilian consultancy firm Teleco, local cellcos Telemar Norte Leste (Oi) and TIM Brasil have failed to meet their licence requirements for 3G coverage. Under the terms of their 3G licence awards, Brazil’s mobile operators were required to roll out a 3G signal to all cities that had a population of at least 200,000 in 2006 (a total of 130 cities) by 30 April 2012. However, as the deadline date passed, the group’s survey found that whilst Vivo and Claro had covered all cities, TIM Brasil was still to provide coverage in three locations (Ipatinga, Santarem and Santa Maria), while Oi was deficient in terms of 3G coverage in 24: Arapiraca, Macapa, Ilheus, Itabuna, Vitoria da Conquista, Caucaia, Juazeiro do Norte, Cariacica, Serra, Aparecida de Goiania, Montes Claros, Ribeirao das Neves, Maraba, Santarem, Caruaru, Paulista, Petrolina, Colombo, Embu, Franca, Hortolandia, Itapevi, Maua and Sumare.

As at 31 March 2012 Brazil’s mobile operators had rolled out 3G networks to a total of 2,883 municipalities. At that date, the country was home to 50.9 million 3G mobile connections, of which 43.5 million were W-CDMA handsets and 7.4 million were 3G data devices/dongles. At the same date America Movil-backed Claro was the market leader in terms of the W-CDMA handset segment, while Vivo led the way in terms of numbers of data terminals connected.