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VIVO 3G Network-, Brazil

Key Data

VIVO, a major mobile telecoms provider in Brazil, is expanding and upgrading its Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) network to 3G in many areas of the country.

VIVO is a 50/50 joint venture between Portugal Telecom and Telefónica Móviles (the company was formed from six smaller mobile telecoms companies brought together under a single brand in 2002, with Brasilcel as the holding company).

Traditionally the Brazilian mobile market has been dominated by older standards, but the take-up of GSM services has been quite strong with over 43% of new subscribers adopting GSM.

Brazil is now the seventh-largest wireless market in the world (currently 76 million subscribers, forecast to be fifth largest by 2008, growing at 9% per year) and is crucial in the dominance battle between the two rival 3G technologies CDMA-2000 and UMTS (GSM evolution path).

It is difficult to say for sure whether either has gained an advantage, but VIVO, which has 30 million subscribers and a 40% market share (making it the largest mobile operator in the Southern Hemisphere), has opted for CDMA.

VIVO's Brazilian rivals in second, third and fourth positions in the marketplace have GSM, or are considering switching to GSM. VIVO has invested in excess of $1.4bn during the 2003–2006 period to develop an efficient network and can now boast coverage of 97% of the country and 82% of the population of Brazil.


VIVO started to upgrade its combined network infrastructure in 2003. The first technology upgrades aimed to give the company CDMA 1xRTT coverage in all major cities by June 2004.

Currently VIVO has 1xRTT network in all major cities except the northern region, where its Norte Brasil Telecom (NBT) subsidiary operates on a TDMA network. The company is now fully committed to deploying CDMA2000.

CDMA2000 is designed to operate within the same spectrum as CDMA1 networks and therefore does not require new spectrum. To achieve this, CDMA2000 offers a two-stage evolution path.

The first stage of the evolution is CDMA2000 1xRTT that uses a 1.25MHz CDMA channel to provide data at a speed of 153kbps and twice as much voice capacity as CDMA1. The spectrum freed up by deploying 1xRTT is then used to deploy the second stage of the evolution, CDMA2000 1xEV-DO.

CDMA2000 1xEV-DO offers broadband mobile data with a peak rate of 2.4Mbps, providing the bandwidth required to support desktop-quality applications on mobile devices, from phones and PDAs to laptop computers.

"Brazil is now the seventh-largest wireless market in the world with 76 million subscribers."

Services that can be offered include anytime / anywhere, access to corporate intranets and databases over Virtual Private Networks (VPN), video and audio streaming, roaming high speed internet access for homes and businesses.

The 1xRTT overlay in Salvador cost VIVO $6.2m; similar 1xRTT overlays on the coasts of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo states, cost $8.6m and $17.2m respectively.


Starent Networks Corporation announced in May 2004 the completion of a contract from VIVO to provide next generation packet infrastructure for its CDMA2000 1x network. This used Starent ST16 Intelligent Mobile Gateway technology.

Starent was chosen as one of the 1xRTT network providers as the first step to true 3G services. The Starent Networks ST16 Intelligent Mobile Gateway was first deployed in the VIVO network in Rio de Janeiro; this allowed subscribers to access data services at speeds up to 144kbps.

The Starent ST16 Intelligent Mobile Gateway is the gateway between the wireless network and core IP network. The advanced architecture allows the system to provision multiple functions, including Packet Data Serving Node (PDSN), Home Agent (HA), Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN), Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN), Wireless Media Gateway, Signalling Gateway, Media Server, and Application Server.

Motorola were also involved in the 1xRTT upgrades in other regions, including Bahia, in early 2004.


Lucent Technologies was awarded a contract to set up a CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network trial in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in early 2004. This was a limited trial conducted during March 2004 to provide select business customers with secure mobile access to corporate applications such as e-mail and intranets at data speeds of up to 2.4Mbps.

Lucent upgraded 120 base stations to support CDMA2000 1xEV-DO. The commercial Flexent CDMA base stations were upgraded with channel cards and software. These included Flexent modular cell 4.0 base stations (similar to the Bell Labs-developed One BTS family of base stations), which support multiple spread-spectrum technologies including CDMA2000 1x, 1xEV-DO, 1xEV-DV and W-CDMA / UMTS.

"VIVO has 30 million subscribers and a 40% market share ."

In addition, Lucent supplied its Flexent Mobility Server to provide an open IP interface to the data network. Lucent Worldwide Services provided installation and integration services (network installation, deployment, maintenance, RF optimisation, and consulting services).

Following the success of the trial upgrading Lucent continued the upgrade with 500 additional Flexent modular cell 4.0 base stations and commercial services were launched in October 2004. VIVO subscribers in Rio de Janeiro (including Praia Grande, Teresopolis and Regiao dos Lagos) and Sao Paulo were the first in Latin America to have access to advanced voice and 3G data services such as sound and picture downloads and instant messaging.


Motorola Inc also started work on VIVO's CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network in Brazil in the third quarter of 2004 through their Brazilian subsidiary Motorola Industrial Ltd. Initially the Motorola contract was to upgrade the network they had previously supplied in Curitiba and Parana State.

They were able to supply all the necessary network hardware and software and to deploy the upgrade. The contract has now been extended to cover the Salvador metropolitan region and another 28 municipalities including Santa Catarina, Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins and Distrito Federal regions.

Nortel Networks were awarded a contract in October 2004 to expand and upgrade the 3G CDMA2000 1x network in the northern, southern and west-central regions of Brazil and specifically the states of Bahia and Maranhao in the north-east (which were previously only covered by TDMA).

The terms of the contract were for supply of the equipment to expand and upgrade the core and access networks in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and the northern region. In the west-central region, Nortel Networks has also supplied switches to help expand capacity in the cities of Brasilia and Goiania.

"Subscribers now have access to advanced voice and 3G data services."

In Bahia, Nortel Networks have expanded trunking peripherals and supply core and access equipment.

Nortel Networks solutions have included a switching platform that offers smooth evolution to an all-IP multi-service packet network architecture, radio base stations, and base station controllers.

Nortel Networks Compact Metro Cell, a highly flexible, scaleable and power-efficient 3G base station, were deployed for the first time in Brazil.


Operations support systems specialists Intec Telecom Systems were awarded a contract in April 2004 to consolidate mediation platforms across all six of VIVO's subsidiaries into one data collection centre.

The contract called for the supply of the Intec mediation software system to collect and process over 215 million voice and IP / data calls daily. Inter-mediatE will enable VIVO to shorten the time to market for new mobile service offerings while reducing operating cost.

Inter-mediatE reporting will allow VIVO to generate revenue assurance reports and gain more control over its mediation processes; while the Inter-mediatE correlation and duplicate manager will help VIVO improve its billing accuracy for increased revenue and better customer service quality, particularly for advanced IP-based network services.


In June 2005, Lucent Technologies announced a further contract with VIVO to increase the capacity and coverage of the 3G CDMA network in the Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo and Sergipe regions.

Lucent Worldwide services were contracted to provide new Flexent modular cell 4.0 compact base stations and also to upgrade existing Lucent base stations. In addition in the states of Sao Paulo and Sergipe new Mobile Switching Centres (MSC) were installed.

The contract also covered Operational Support Systems (OSS) to aid VIVO in meeting its QoS (Quality of Service) goals. In addition, Lucent supplied Vital NTP (Network Trouble Patterning) software to optimise network performance and also Vital Net and NPM (Provisioning Manager) software to support the operators Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network expansion to aid in cutting costs.

In February 2006 Lucent Technologies were again contracted by VIVO to supply additional equipment and to work with Riverstone Networks and Juniper Networks to deploy additional networking solutions to support the growing demand for high-speed broadband mobile services.

Motorola announced a CDMA 3G EV-DO network expansion for VIVO in March 2006. The enhancements will allow VIVO to manage large increases in high-speed mobile data traffic for Brasilia and Curitiba.

"The expansion will allow increased traffic and the adoption of new high-speed services."

The expansion will allow increased traffic and also the adoption of new high-speed services as well as allowing more subscribers. Motorola has also supplied additional SoftSwitches for the network to increase its capacity.


Television transmission over mobile phone services (VIVO Play 3G) were launched by VIVO in July 2005 (this service was thanks to cutting edge CDMA technology from Qualcomm).

VIVO ZAP 3G is the broadband mobile connectivity service, which uses a PCMCIA card and allows the user to access internet and e-mails at ten times conventional broadband speeds.

SmartMail is also available for subscribers. This is a Push e-mail service, which can be accessed via PDA type handset and can be used to receive and send e-mail and browse the internet on the move, similar to the BlackBerry services that are more familiar in the UK.