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Mobile broadband provides bright outlook for Brazil's mobile operators

Addressing delegates at this week's Futurecom event, UMTS Forum Jean-Pierre Bienaim urged Brazil's operators to actively embrace the opportunities offered by 3G/UMTS.

"More than 85 million mobile subscribers worldwide are already enjoying a new generation of compelling mobile multimedia services on around 120 WCDMA networks that have been deployed commercially. Building on its current investments in GSM, Brazil has already entered the mobile broadband world with EDGE deployments by several operators. This provides a firm foundation for the timely introduction of 3G/UMTS services throughout the country that will be of immense socio-economic importance in urban centres and rural regions alike."

The UMTS Forum Chairman described 3G/UMTS as 'a convergent technology that will unify voice, interactive multimedia and Internet services'. This convergence, noted Bienaim, will provide a powerful inventive to Brazil's media industry to develop new content and service offerings at a regional and national level.

Thanks to its increased spectral efficiency, 3G/UMTS gives Brazilian operators the potential to alleviate network capacity constraints in major cities while reducing their operating costs. Furthermore, added Bienaim, 3G/UMTS can help drive Brazilian mobile broadband penetration in rural areas where PC ownership and fixed-line connectivity to the Internet are at relatively low levels. In addition, the evolution to higher peak data speeds and greater spectral efficiency afforded by HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) will make 3G/UMTS and its evolutions even more attractive to operators looking to provide cost-effective mobile broadband services to consumers and business users.

Bienaim also pointed to the possibility of deploying 3G/UMTS at lower frequencies to provide cost-effective mobile broadband coverage for Brazil's geographically dispersed extra-urban population:

"In the longer term, roll-out using spectrum in the range below 1 Gigahertz could represent an increasingly attraction option for operators looking to extend their footprint. As a fully standardised system, the immense economies of scale offered by 3G/UMTS make it the most compelling choice for providing affordably-priced broadband wireless services to the whole of the Brazilian region."