TIM Brazil says Wi-Fi is best offload strategy

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Telecom Italia's TIM Brazil business is moving aggressively on plans to seamlessly offload 3G data traffic in Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro to 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots that will be rolled out by year's end.

RCRWireless reports that Mauricio Cascao, TIM Brazil's director of innovation told attendees of last week's TM Forum Latin America Summit, "At first, we thought we would offload the network using WiMAX solutions, but today it is clear that Wi-Fi is the most appropriate technology."

The operator said in February during a discussion of its year-end 2011 results that it intends to operate 25,000 Wi-Fi hotspots by 2014. The deployment is being done in conjunction with TIM Fiber, which was formerly AES Atimus, a company TIM Brazil bought in July 2011 more than $1 billion.

TIM Brazil first announced is TIM Wi-Fi plan, part of its Internet for All effort, in early December 2011. In January 2012 the company launched a Wi-Fi pilot project in the massive Rocinha slum, which has 150,000 residents. TIM Brazil said at the time that Rocinha's dense urban population of income-challenged residents makes the area an excellent showcase for projects that bridge the digital divide.

The first phase of the Rocinha project includes 25 hotspots that provide almost complete coverage of the community, and the network has been able to deliver 5,000 simultaneous connections with speeds of 1-2 Mbps per user. The TIM Wi-Fi project in Rocinha is comprised of a private service for subscribers of TIM's prepaid mobile service and a public service that enables access to government and public utility websites.

TIM Brazil is also extending its HSPA coverage. The operator said in February that its 3G coverage stood at 64 percent of Brazil's population in 2011 but would expand to cover 80 percent in 2014.

For more:
- see this RCRWireless article
- see this TIM Brazil slideshow

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