Brazilian mobile market leader Vivo, which is backed by Telefonica of Spain, launched Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in Imperatriz (Maranhao State) late last week, marking its 100th 4G market of operation. Further, the company expects to extend its LTE coverage to a further eleven cities before the end of the month, as it bids to consolidate its strong position. Meanwhile, Claro Brasil, the country’s third-largest mobile operator by subscribers, has switched on its own LTE network in Petropolis (Rio de Janeiro State), meaning it now covers a total of 93 markets. Rivals Oi and TIM Brasil currently claim 45 4G markets apiece.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, as per the terms set out by the Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes (Anatel) during 2012’s 2500MHz spectrum auction, 4G frequency holders are obliged to cover all state capitals and cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants by December 2014. The watchdog targets all municipalities with at least 10,000 inhabitants to have LTE service by 31 December 2016.