By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Telecoms giant Oi launched its high-speed 4G mobile internet service in Rio on Thursday, becoming the city’s second operator to offer the service. Rival operator Claro launched its 4G services in cities hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup, including Rio, last week. TIM and Vivo are launching their 4G packages next week, O Globo newspaper says.
Oi will reportedly launch its 4G services to other Confederations Cup host cities where 4G is not yet available – Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza – in the first half of May, in order to deliver on agreements with ANATEL, the national telecoms regulator, to provide at least fifty-percent coverage in these cities in time for the Cup, which begins in June.
These services should be extended to all cities hosting the 2014 World Cup by December 2013. The 4G technology allows for mobile data to be transferred at speeds up to ten times faster than 3G.
Oi is investing R$800 million (just under US$400 million) to get 4G services up and running, but has saved around R$200 million by sharing its infrastructure with TIM, which is responsible for setting up 4G services in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and business center.
Monthly contracts for 4G services in Rio start at around R$80 for cell phones, depending on the size of the accompanying data package. Tablet and notebook contracts are closer to R$190.
In February it was announced that telecoms companies would be given tax breaks in exchange for investing in infrastructure to the tune of at least R$16 billion (US$8 billion) by 2016.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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