Brazilian mobile operator TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil), a unit of Telecom Italia, has announced the launch of a commercial 4G service in Curitiba’s state capital, Parana. The cellco’s launch – carried out three months ahead of schedule – means that TIM Brasil joins rivals Vivo and Telecom Americas (Claro) which have already deployed live 4G services in the city. Curitiba is one of the host cities for the 2014 football FIFA World Cup, and under rollout requirements set down by Anatel, 4G must be made available in all host cities on or before 31 December 2013. It is understood that TIM’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) infrastructure in Curitiba will also be used by another Brazilian mobile operator, Oi SA, as the pair have signed a 4G sharing agreement that will see TIM responsible for deploying LTE equipment in Recife, Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Natal, while Oi SA will cover rollout in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Salvador, Porto Alegre, Manaus and Cuiaba.
TIM Brasil, the country’s second largest cellco by subscribers, aims to invest up to BRL146 million (USD63.4 million) in Parana state alone by the end of this year, primarily on upping network capacity and to expand coverage. It has signed up around 35,000 4G subscribers according to Anatel, giving it a roughly 20% share of the segment behind Vivo and Claro.