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April 11, 2013

Brazilian Ministry Expects Standardization of 450 MHz LTE within Months

MiniCom, the communications ministry for the Brazilian government, recently issued a statement that it expects 4G LTE in the 450 MHz spectrum to be standardized in a matter of months. The process is designed to bring 450 MHz service to the nation's rural areas.

In June 2012, Anatel, the Brazilian government telecom regulator, auctioned off 4G LTE spectrum for 2.5GHz and 450 MHz bandwidths. None of the winning companies made specific bids for the 450 MHz range, however.

This resulted in the Brazilian government stipulating that those who had winning bids for the 2.5GHz range would also be required to provide 450 MHz service to rural areas in a gradual rollout.

By June 2014, 30 percent of rural areas must be covered. That requirement increases to 60 percent by December 2014 and 100 percent by December 2015.

Major upcoming sporting events and the communications infrastructure these events require are the driving force behind the deployment of 450 MHz LTE in Brazil, which is slated to host the 2013 Confederations Cup, 2014 World Cup, and 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Twelve cities will host World Cup games, and although Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympics, events will take place at numerous venues.

Companies with winning auction bids were required to provide 4G service to the six cities hosting the 2013 Confederations Cup by April 2013, and to the 12 cities hosting the World Cup by December 2013. Cities with at least 500,000 residents and state capitals must have the service by December 2014.

By the end of 2016, Anatel wants all cities with at least 10,000 people to have the service.

Research on 450 MHz LTE is being performed by CPqD, Brazil's center for research and development. Their efforts are funded by FUNTTEL, a fund in Brazil for advancing telecommunications technology, which has provided about $20 million.  

In March, MiniCom minister Paulo Bernardo spoke to children from a rural school to demonstrate 450 MHz LTE during a video call. The technology is capable of transfer rates up to 25 Mbps for download and 12.5 Mbps for upload.

Brazil has the chance to make some technological breakthroughs, since 4GE is available for data transmission only, and their 450 Mhz LTE is designed for calls as well. Some of the early deadlines for deploying the technology are coming soon, if they aren’t already here.

If there are any glitches that still have to be rectified, the smaller scale sporting events hopefully allow engineers to work out the bugs before the Olympic Games come in 2016.

Edited by Braden Becker

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