Brazil’s Ministry of Communications (Ministerio das Comunicacoes, MiniCom) has announced that mobile operator Claro Brasil has successfully tested ‘4.5G’ LTE technology using 700MHz frequencies in the city of Rio Verde in Goias state. That city was selected as it is scheduled to have its analogue broadcasting network switched off on 15 February 2016 as part of the country’s digital switchover. Claro’s trial, which reportedly achieved downlink transmission speeds of up to 300Mbps, is believed to have utilised the LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) platform. Announcing the trial, communications minister Andre Figueiredo confirmed that the freed-up 700MHz spectrum will be fully available to mobile operators from 2018, as MiniCom looks to help increase national 4G coverage to around 95% of the population; the rate currently stands at 48%.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the Brazilian government auctioned off 698MHz-806MHz (700MHz) frequencies on 30 September 2014, generating a total of BRL5.85 billion (USD1.51 billion), well below the BRL7.71 billion target. The country’s three largest mobile operators by subscribers – Vivo, TIM Brasil and Claro – all picked up nationwide spectrum blocks, while Oi, Brazil’s fourth largest mobile operator by subscribers, opted to sit out the auction.