America Movil’s (AM’s) Brazilian mobile service provider Telecom Americas (Claro) is the first operator to nail its colours to the mast where 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services are concerned, announcing its intention to launch in the cities of Campos do Jordao (in Sao Paulo state) and Buzios and Paraty (both in Rio de Janeiro state) ‘probably’ before April 2013. BNamericas quotes Claro CEO Carlos Zenteno as telling the communications minister Paulo Bernardo and journalists that his firm is ‘ahead of the 4G schedule’ and as such is aiming to launch in some of FIFA’s Confederations Cup football tournament host-cities prior to April 2013. Claro is using ZTE and Huawei-supplied modems for the launch; Ericsson of Sweden is its technology partner in Campos do Jordao, Buzios and Paraty and will also be for the whole Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states, as well as Rio Grande do Sul.
The carrier was one of the firms that won LTE-suitable spectrum in the government’s auction of 2.5GHz spectrum in June. Zenteno pointed out though, that the planned launch in the three named cities is not a full-blown commercial one, but that they are more than pilots. ‘[4G services are] not commercial yet because the bands were not yet formally released for commercial purposes. But they are also not trials, because we won’t be removing them after a given period, for example. They are the first three cities to have our 4G,’ he is quoted as saying. ‘The cities were chosen due to their strong touristic appeal,’ he added.