Brazil’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Vivo Participacoes, says it has reached its goal of 3G coverage of 85% of the population, well ahead of its target date of April 2016. In a statement, the cellco said it achieved the magic figure last Thursday, at which date its third-generation network served 2,832 municipalities out of a total of 5,566. Launched in 2010, Vivo’s ambitious rollout plan envisaged covering more than four-fifths of Brazil’s people with mobile internet access of up to 10Mbps within six years, in line with the regulator Anatel’s licensing terms – although even then, it said it was confident it could reach that goal by 2012. Local online news site Globo reports that Vivo is in the throes of connecting the last antenna as part of the project, serving the town of Rancho Alegre in Parana state, where 4,000 people live.
Although Vivo has hit its 3G target in terms of population coverage, it is still short of achieving its goals when it comes to towns and cities served. Currently, the cellco’s coverage is in less than half of all Brazil’s municipalities – and is especially weak in those with less than 30,000 inhabitants. Nonetheless, Vivo says it will continue with its aggressive plans for mobile network rollout to meet its coverage obligations.