BNamericas reports that Telecom Americas (Claro) the Brazilian mobile subsidiary of Mexico’s America Movil (AM), has successfully launched 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) in all of the host cities for the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup, being hosted by Brazil, becoming the first domestic operator to meet the regulator’s deadline for 4G coverage. Anatel stipulates that 4G spectrum holders must deploy commercial networks in the six FIFA Confederations Cup host cities, by 30 April; the twelve FIFA World Cup host cities (six of which will already have hosted the Confederations Cup), by 31 December; and then progressively in all municipalities with over 100,000 inhabitants by 31 December 2016. The AM unit had already rolled out LTE commercially in Rio Grande do Sul state capital Porto Alegre, Pernambuco state capital Recife and Parana capital Curitiba, as well as in the tourist cities of Campos do Jordao, Buzios and Paraty where the technology is being trialled. Although only Recife is hosting the Confederations Cup, on Tuesday this week the cellco extended its ‘4GMax’ branded LTE service to Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza and Salvador, bringing the total number of cities served with 4G, to eleven.
Claro is investing BRL510 million (USD256 million) in 4G LTE, in addition to the BRL1 billion it paid for the 40MHz of spectrum it won in the 2500MHz tender held in June 2012. Claro president Carlos Zenteno is quoted as saying that its 4G coverage in the eleven cities already served reaches 90% of the urban area.
Yesterday, CommsUpdate reported that Claro rival Vivo will launch its own LTE service on 30 April – the deadline date stipulated by the regulator – under the banner ‘4G+’. The cellco is introducing new data plans that we be made available to subscribers and new customers in the six cities hosting the Confederations Cup. TIM Brasil and Oi SA are yet to launch their 4G networks.