Algar Telecom is expected to switch on its long-awaited 700MHz LTE network today (Friday 18 November), with Telesintese reporting that the new service is set to go live in the mining cities of Uberlandia and Ituiutaba in the state of Minas Gerais. The launch follows successful tests in Rio Verde (Goias state), which was the first city to benefit from an analogue-digital switchover, and going forward, the network will be extended to other areas as and when the 700MHz spectrum is freed up by broadcasters. Previously, on 30 September 2014 Algar paid BRL29.57 million (USD8.5 million) for 700MHz spectrum covering 87 municipalities in the states of Goias, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul and Sao Paulo. In April 2015 the telco selected Finnish equipment vendor Nokia for the deployment of its 4G network.
In related news, the National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel) has announced that it has completed the shutdown of analogue broadcasting equipment in the Distrito Federal (DF), meaning that Brasilia is one of the first major cities in which 700MHz spectrum has been freed up for 4G use. As such, TIM Brasil has indicated that it is ready to launch its 700MHz LTE service in Brasilia ‘the same day’ as the spectrumis released. Sao Paulo is scheduled for its analogue-digital switchover on 29 March 2017.
Finally, in other spectrum-related news, Anatel has confirmed that it concluded the final stage of its ‘leftovers’ spectrum auction – a process that commenced in earnest in December 2015 – on 17 November. Frequencies in the 1800MHz, 1900MHz and 2500MHz bands went under the hammer. The results are expected to be made public in due course.