The largest mobile service providers in Brazil are gearing up to offer 4G roaming services and special mobility packages to users visiting the country during the World Cup.
A senior executive at mobile giant Claro, Alexandre Olivari, told Reuters that in addition to 4G services - which were not on offer to international visitors through the company until now - the telco will offer another product to tourists, Claro Visitors, for R$60 ($27) starting early next month. It will include 300MB of data, a 40 SMS bundle, as well as 21 minutes of local calls and the same amount of talk time for long distance and international calls.
Telefonica-owned Vivo plans to offer 4G roaming services to tourists from 13 countries during the World Cup and expects take-up by foreigners will result in a revenue boost of 35 percent.
Tim, another large Brazilian operator, told Reuters that it already offers 4G roaming services to users from 150 countries through agreements with about 300 international operators. Portugal Telecom-owned Oi said its 4G roaming service is just about ready.
Visitors should bear in mind that the fourth-generation chips will only work on Brazil's 2.5 GHz network, since the intended 700 MhZ spectrum will not be ready in time for the sporting event, according to telecom regulator Anatel.
4G services were launched in Brazil a year ago amid concerns over availability, cost of services and compatible devices, as well as the fact that operators have barely managed to cater for 3G data.
Earlier this month, Anatel's president João Resende said 3G will surpass second generation phones in Brazil by July, while urging the country's telecommunications firms to invest more to catch up with users' evolving demands.