Nextel Brasil, the Brazilian unit of US-based NII Holdings, has said it is planning to expand its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to Sao Paulo in 2016, writes Telecompaper citing an article in Exame. The paper says that NII has filed a report with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirming that it will use the 800MHz band spectrum for LTE in both Brazil and Argentina. It plans to invest USD200 million over five years in Brazil on the 4G deployment, and hopes to end that year with around 40% of its user base on either 3G or 4G technology. Nextel Brasil is aiming to have signed up 4.64 million customers by end-2014, rising to 7.67 million by end-2108 – an annual growth rate of 13%.
In June this year, TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that Nextel Brasil had launched its LTE service in Rio de Janeiro. The company has deployed a total of 300 antennas in the city, covering some 19 districts, using equipment provided by Huawei Technologies. In May this year, Nextel COO and president confirmed the carrier’s plan to switch on its 4G network by mid-year, sparking media speculation that it would rush to get the service live in time for the FIFA World Cup. Going forward, the carrier intends to expand coverage to outer metro areas of Rio de Janeiro before extending its footprint to other regions of Brazil – including now, Sao Paulo. Unlike its main mobile rivals which have opted to launch LTE in the 2500MHz band, Nextel Brasil is using the 1800MHz band which critics point out could hamper matters where it comes to number portability. On the other hand, the online portal notes that Brazilians who purchased their 4G devices in the US, for example, will be able to use them on Nextel’s network.