Wednesday 6 January 2021

Brazil is hopeful of getting 5G this year


Brazil has four major operators resulting from numerous mergers and acquisitions, they share 97% of the mobile market:  Vivo (Telefónica Brazil, owned by Spanish Telefónica), TIM (owned by Telecom Italia), Claro (owned by Mexican América Móvil) and Oi (formerly Brasil Telecom).

Vivo (pronounced like 'VEE-voo') is the largest mobile carrier in Brazil, which is owned by Telefónica from Spain and has 32% of the Brazilian market share in 2018. From their total of 75 million subscribers only 57% are using prepaid plans. It was the last operator to allow prepaid customers on 4G/LTE in 2015. Vivo is known to have the most reliable network at the highest rates in the country.

Vivo's network has national coverage and it became the brand for all consumer services provided by Telefónica in Brazil, which include broadband internet, TV subscription and fixed telephone lines.

TIM (pronounced like 'cheem'), owned by Telecom Italia, is the prepaid leader in the country. It’s the overall no. 3 with a total share of 24% or 56 million subscribers, 79.5% are using a prepaid plan. TIM is present in all Brazilian states. 

Claro (pronounced like 'CLAH-row') is the third largest mobile operator in Brazil owned by Mexican América Móvil. It has kept a 25% of the Brazilian market share making it no.2 in the country. Of their total of 59 million subscribers, 74% are using a prepaid plan.

Claro's network has national coverage and similar to Vivo, Claro offers additional services, like fixed broadband connection, telephone line and TV subscription.

Claro partnered with Ericsson to present the first 5G stadium in Brazil. The event, which took place during the Led Zeppelin show in Concert no Allianz Parque Hall, included the first holographic transmission in real time in the country performed with 5G technology.

Oi (the Brazilian word for 'hi') is the fourth largest mobile operator in Brazil that is currently owned by CorpCo, a joint venture with Portugal Telecom, and has 17% of the Brazilian market share. Of their total of 39 million subscribers, they have a high prepaid share. 81% are using a prepaid plan making Oi the number two on the prepaid phone market.

Oi network has national coverage and also offers additional services similar to other major operators, like fixed broadband connection, telephone line and TV subscription.

Oi may be the smallest of the big four, but it has the largest WI-FI network in Brazil with more than 1 million access points. Oi has furthermore a national roaming agreement with TIM closing some gaps due to its lower coverage. 

A consortium comprising Telefonica, Telecom Italia and America Movil’s Claro secured a BRL16.5 billion ($3.2 billion) agreement to acquire Oi’s mobile business, a deal expected to be completed in 2021.

According to the recent Open Signal report, when comes to the consumer mobile network experience in Brazil, it is a two-horse race develop between Claro and TIM.

The rollout of 4G on the 700 MHz spectrum band in Brazil is having a big impact, as users on networks that have implemented it are spending more time on 4G and are on average enjoying faster download speeds. Also seen is a cascading effect of this on the Video and Voice App Experience as upload and latency measurements have also improved. And with an upcoming auction of 5G licenses — including more spectrum in the 700 MHz band — Open Signal expects the mobile network experience to continue to improve as the market matures.

The Brazilian government aims to carry out a tender to award 5G spectrum by the end of the first half of 2021, according to Brazilian press reports. According to government officials, the future 5G spectrum auction will be “the largest auction for the right to use radio frequency of the country’s history“.

Brazil has joined a US-led proposal for building transparent and reliable 5G networks, representing another blow to Chinese vendor Huawei which is regarded as the main target of the scheme; 31 of 37 OECD countries already joined the pact, which now counts a total 49 nations.

Reuters reported Brazilian operators had been offered financial support by US authorities to opt for kit from Western vendors including Nokia and Ericsson, but they were not willing to reduce their choices and were already testing Huawei equipment before a 5G auction in the country, expected in 2021.

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