Telecom Americas (Claro), the Brazilian mobile subsidiary of Mexico’s America Movil, says that its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) rollout programme is currently running well ahead of schedule, allowing it to meet the government’s deadline to launch commercial 4G services in the remaining football 2014 World Cup host cities of Cuiaba, Manaus and Natal. In a statement published at the end of last week, Claro says that as a result of its rapid rollout, it hopes to be the first carrier in Brazil to make 4G mobile services available in all twelve host cities, namely: Manaus, Natal, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador. National telecoms regulator Anatel has published its official timetable for 4G rollout, stipulating that licensees must provide coverage of all World Cup host cities by 31 December 2013.
In addition to the above, Claro’s LTE network is also available in Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and in the tourist cities of Campos do Jordao, Bazios and Paraty. It was the first Brazilian mobile network operator to inaugurate 4G on a commercial basis and currently has a footprint of 15 cities, covering over 35 million Brazilians. By 1 May TeleGeography notes that Claro had signed up more than 20,000 4G users since launching its new network last December. The cellco is offering a range of tablets, smartphones and modems to support its ongoing LTE rollout. However, its larger rival Vivo has since outstripped it in terms of coverage; the Telefonica-owned carrier had expanded its reach to 17 cities by end-May and claimed 29,400 4G accesses at end-April, out of a country total of just over 50,000.