The CPqD solution was presented this Friday morning in Campinas, during the visit of the Minister of Communications, Paulo Bernardo. Oi had developed a similar pilot project, but in 3G.
Brazil will be able to extend 4G broadband access based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) to rural areas, using the new 450 MHz frequency which will be auctioned by the National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) next May. The utilization of fourth generation services in this spectrum in isolated or remote regions of the country was made possible through nationally developed technology, the first of its kind in the world market. The CPqD solution was tested this Friday morning, February 24, in the city of Campinas, in the state of São Paulo. The demonstration was accompanied by the Minister of Communications, Paulo Bernardo, during a visit to the research institution's headquarters. In his opinion, the new technology represents a breakthrough for Brazil. According to the minister, currently available technologies for the 450 MHz frequency range are CDMA-based, in other words, are only viable for 3G services, which is why Brazil's development of LTE networks can be considered revolutionary. Oi also ran 450 MHz frequency tests for rural regions last week, but the pilot was in a 3G network.
Interest in 450 MHz on the rise
"LTE at 450 MHz improves the perspectives for the auctions", said Paulo Bernardo. He believes carriers will change their viewpoint regarding this spectrum. Service providers have not demonstrated much enthusiasm for this frequency range. According to them, expected results would not justify the hefty investments needed. "According to our public consultation, interest in the 450 MHz frequency has increased. I think we will sell it separately from the 2.5 GHz band," the Minister affirmed.
Paulo Bernardo explained that there will be two auctions, one for each band, without forcing companies who buy the 2.5 GHz band to buy spectrum for rural areas. This requirement, stipulated in the official bid regulations - currently submitted to public consultation -, has resulted in protests on the part of the carriers.
The solution tested by CPqD will allow 4G broadband access in rural areas with speeds up to 25 Mbps for downloads and 12.5 Mbps for uploads. This technology has been under development since 2010, with the support of the Ministry of Communications' FUNTTEL (Fund for the Technological Development of Brazilian Telecommunications). It is an experimental platform from CPqD's Advanced Wireless Network project, which will receive an investment of 55 million reais over a three year period, most of which earmarked for 450 MHz LTE network technology. According to Fabrício Lira Figueiredo, manager of CPqD's Wireless Communication Division, tests have demonstrated that the solution is viable and should begin to be produced commercially by the beginning of the second semester. CPqD will transfer the product technology to WxBR, the national company which will be responsible for production. WxBR, with 75% of its capital controlled by Brazilian Padtec and the remaining 25% by Icatel, will industrialize the product and commercialize it on the global market. Samuel Rocha Lauretti explains that the idea is to launch a complete line, with antennas, radiofrequency devices, split eNodeB and network management systems. Lauretti believes that WxBR 4G network prices will be perfectly able to stand up to multinational competition. He is confident that the LTE bid will be important to gain customers, but they also have their sights on the foreign market. With this in mind, company representatives will join CPqD at CeBIT 2012, which begins next week in Germany, to showcase Brazil's innovative technology.