Telecommunications - Brazil

MiniCom sees 450MHz LTE being standardized in

MiniCom sees 450MHz LTE being standardized in "coming months"

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Brazil's communications ministry MiniCom believes the standardization of 4G LTE technology for 450MHz spectrum will take place "in the coming months," according to a statement from the ministry.

The country wants to stand out as a global reference for 450MHz LTE technology, which has no precedents in the telecommunications industry.

To date, 40mn reais (US$20.1mn) has been channeled from the communications technology development fund Funttel to Brazilian ICT R&D firm CPqD, which is coordinating the research into the technology.

On March 19, CPqD officially inaugurated one of the world's first labs for testing and measuring LTE at 450MHz. At the launch, communications minister Paulo Bernardo spoke with children at a nearby rural school via videoconference using wireless 4G technology.

The 450MHz spectrum was tendered last June to take broadband to remote and rural localities. Under its roll-out schedule, carriers must serve 30% of the rural area of the municipalities they are licensed to operate in by June 2014, 60% by end-2014 and 100% by 2015.

One of the advantages of the system being developed in Brazil, according to MiniCom, is that it enables voice calls through 4G LTE - currently the fourth generation technology allows only data transmission.

MiniCom's industry, science and technology director, José Gontijo, says this will mainly benefit places not served by other types of networks.

Apart from financing its development, Brazil is also working within the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to standardize the technology, which is necessary to ensure the interoperability of the equipment that makes up the entire access network, such as antennas, RF devices, compact base station, LTE terminals with WiFi network interfaces, and network management systems.

"This will ensure interoperability and efficiency, giving security to companies producing equipment and to operators who want to use the LTE/450MHz systems," explains Gontijo.

Gontijo himself has participated in several 3GPP standardization meetings. Mobile carrier TIM, which already announced its intentions to offer LTE at 450MHz, and equipment manufacturer Huawei are also taking part in the discussions.

The next 3GPP meeting is slated for April 15-19, in Chicago.