Nextel Communications’ 3G network launch in Brazil, which has been expected for some time, may happen before the end of this year. The company confirmed to RCR Wireless News that “Nextel is working to start marketing its 3G later this year; it has already fulfilled the regulatory requirements.” Further details, such as the exact date of launch, plans and initial cities, were not released.
The company has already launched its push-to-talk services over its new 3G network in Chile in August, after announcing 3G voice and data services in May. Nextel is seeking a 5-12% share of the Chilean mobile market.
Peru is the first country where NII Holdings, which operates the Nextel brand, launched PTT using a W-CDMA network.
Earlier this year, many financial analysts noted that Nextel’s 3G plans could cause the carrier to become lost in a sea of rival 3G operators that have already launched commercial services. Nextel’s unique push-to-talk service could also suffer, since it is already struggling from a lack of compelling devices geared toward an increasingly smartphone-savvy public.
“As the market moves from voice to data, people want to enjoy their iPhones, and they are not interested in PTT,” Macquarie Capital analyst Kevin Smithen said at that time (read more). He added that moving to 3G would force Nextel to upgrade and subsidize their subscribers’ devices. “So I ask if Nextel still has a competitive advantage because they are going to be just the same as everybody else,” he said.