Carlo Filangieri, the CTO of TIM BRASIL is speaking in a panel session entitled, “How Operators Are Meeting Rural Areas Coverage Obligations in Brazil?”, taking place on Day Two of the LTE Latin America conference is taking place on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In this interview we find out a bit more about the challenges of connectivity in rural Brazil and if he is in favour on spectrum and infrastructure sharing.
Brazil is such a large country – what are the main challenges in getting 4G out to rural areas?
For sure, the biggest problem in rural areas in Brazil is the lack of fibre optic that’s mandatory for a 4G site. However, another issue that we have is the frequency used for 4G, namely 2.5GHz. This frequency is more suitable for micro coverage than for wide coverage in as rural areas. In order to support rural coverage we are working to build fibre in the country, sharing the investment costs with other operators as much as possible.
What are your thoughts on spectrum sharing to solve capacity crunch concerns?
Spectrum is a scare resource and we look at spectrum sharing as a good opportunity to make use of it in an as efficient a way as possible. As such, TIM and Oi have made one of the biggest 4G RAN sharing agreements in the world. Every further step in this direction will be submitted to the Brazilian regulators to get the necessary approval.
When will LTE roaming be implemented on your network, both travelling in and out, and what are the main challenges?
In the second half of 2013 we activated our first 4G roaming agreement with Telecom Italia in order to give to Italian and Brazilian citizens the chance to use 4G in both countries. I can confirm that it is working very well because I travel often across the ocean. We are now working to expand the roaming agreement to many more countries and operators. The main challenge is the international backbone that not always has the bandwidth needed for full enjoying the 4G performance.
The LTE Latin America conference is taking place on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Click here to download a brochure for the event.
Is Wi-Fi an important part of your strategy and what are the best ways of having an integrated experience for consumers?
Yes, Wi-Fi is an important part of our strategy and to that end we are deploying hundreds of Wi-Fi hotspots. The key is to give to the customer seamless authentication. Wi-Fi offload will increase if the network allows the automatic authentication for the customer, avoiding the need to enter a username and password to access the hotspot.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for operators in 2014?
The biggest challenge for sure is to find the right balance between investment, data growth and quality. In order to overcome this problem, I think that operators should fight in terms of market share, but reinforce their technical cooperation in order to maximize investments, as car makers have been doing for decades. Last but not least, the challenge is to try to find a way to take back part of the revenue that OTTs are taking away from every country, apart from the U.S.
Why is the LTE LATAM conference such an important date in your diary?
The conference is an important place to share experiences and opinions between managers that have to face the same problems day-by-day.