While telecom operators in mature markets have used Wi-Fi hot spots to offload 3G data traffic, in Brazil carriers have just started to deploy them. During the TM Forum Latin America Summit held on March 27-28 in São Paulo, TIM Brazil’s director of innovation, Maurício Cascão, said that the carrier plans to unveil 10,000 Wi-Fi hot spots distributed in the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
This goal comes after TIM bought telecommunications infrastructure operator AES Atimus Group in July 2011 for U.S. $1.03 billion (R$1.6 billion). “At first, we thought we would offload the network using WiMAX solutions, but today it is clear that Wi-Fi is the most appropriate technology,” noted Cascão, adding that there are scale gains and more competitive costs in choosing Wi-Fi.
Rodrigo Duclos, CTO at Net Serviços, which is owned by América Móvil, agreed that using Wi-Fi hot spots makes sense to offload the network. He said that it is something all telecom operators are doing. “Deploying Wi-Fi hot spots increases loyalty,” he added.
Net Serviços started Wi-Fi hot spots as a pilot project in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with the main goal of adding value for their customers. The company aims to install Wi-Fi hotspots in places where its network is already deployed and where people tend to congregate, such as malls, universities, airports and restaurants.
TIM has already deployed a Wi-Fi pilot project too. The telecom operator installed several antennas that deliver mobile broadband speed of up to 54 Mbps for the entire community of Rocinha, Brazil’s largest slum with more than 150,000 inhabitants.
The antennas also serve as wireless Internet hot spots, strengthening the capacity of the data network through optical fiber. During the pilot phase, about 500 to 600 residents will have access to the technology.
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