Technology

Claro will roll out the first commercially available 5G network in Brazil on July 14

The carrier opted for a DSS technology so it won't need to wait for the auction of frequency bands

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  • Coverage will be initially restricted to some areas in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro;
  • Connection speed measured in the tests reached 400 megabits per second (Mbps).

Claro, a telecom carrier owned by Mexico’s América Móvil group, will begin to roll out the first commercially available 5G network in Brazil on July 14. In the first phase, coverage will be restricted to a few areas of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. But the company announced it will be expanding the service gradually in both Brazilian cities so it can reach 9 neighborhoods in Rio and 12 in São Paulo by the end of September.

According to O Estado de S. Paulo, Claro decided to take a “shortcut” to offer the new generation of wireless services before its competitors. The carrier will employ a technology developed by Swedish equipment provider Ericsson that allows 5G connections on frequency bands already used by 4G, 3G and 2G networks, by applying dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) to manage technologies.

The strategy allows the company to launch a 5G network before the frequencies auction to be carried out by the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel). The Brazilian frequencies auction, the largest in the world according to experts, was scheduled to take place in November, but Anatel representatives have already admitted that it may be postponed to December or even to 2021.

Carriers in countries like the U.S., Germany and Switzerland that wanted to anticipate 5G coverage had already adopted a similar move to Claro’s. The move, however, prevents these networks from benefiting from low latency (the time before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer). It is one of the most important factors for the technology to be applied on, for example, driverless cars.

READ ALSO: How carriers are preparing for the arrival of 5G in Brazil

“The path towards the ultimate 5G solution will be a long one and will still require a lot of investment, work and time to be deployed across the country. But in the future, with more spectrum, more antennas and a new network topology, the 5G will be a vehicle for a major transformation, connecting people and sensors through a high-capacity, low-latency mobile network, capable of automating and controlling more diverse activities of society”, says Claro in a statement.

In Rio de Janeiro, 5G coverage will start in Ipanema; in São Paulo, it will be operating around Avenida Paulista and Jardins. Testing of Claro’s DSS technology began in October 2019, in partnership with Ericsson, Qualcomm and Motorola. The maximum connection speed measured in the tests was 400 megabits per second (Mbps)

For now, Motorola Edge will be the only handheld device compatible with 5G in Brazil, where it is sold for BRL 5,500 ($1.030), though there are discounts for users who opt for high-usage plans.