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Back to the Futurecom

8:00 AM -- I’m back at Futurecom, Latin America’s largest and most influential telecom show and the biggest event in Sao Paulo this week outside of the Miss Universe Contest, where Miss Brazil was second runner-up. My first stop is to see Wilson Cardoso, Nokia Siemens’s Latin America CTO.

Cardoso's associates here say he's the smartest guy in NSN (and they say that knowing that CEO Rajeev Suri is not in town). He was right on the mark predicting 140 percent mobile broadband growth in Brazil since 2008, and he’s expecting that growth will continue next year as well. Why? More tablets, cheaper smartphones (although they are still two to three times more expensive than in the U.S. or Europe), competitive services and more people buying smartphones as more Brazilian consumers have deeper pockets because of the growing Brazilian economy.

Putting it in context regionally, Cardoso says Brazil’s carriers are running a combined 1 Tbit/s of mobile data traffic over their mobile access networks. By comparison, Mexico is only at 300 Gbit/s. There are 10 million consumers with mobile data cards in Brazil, roughly the same number as in Mexico. Interestingly, despite its size, from a fixed-broadband perspective, Brazil is only third in Latin America in fixed consumer broadband penetration, behind Chile and Mexico. But this makes it even more important for Brazilian carriers to invest in mobile broadband infrastructure.

At this rate, each of Brazil’s five mobile carriers with spectrum will each need to increase their spectrum bandwidth from 100MHz to 110MHz to an average of 150 MHz. The Brazilian government says it will be auctioning spectrum in the 2.6GHz to 2.7GHz spectrum next year. Brazilian carriers will have some interesting investment decisions to make at that time, Cardoso says.

Aside from investing in spectrum, Brazilian carriers need to upgrade the mobile backhaul infrastructure. Only 2 percent of Brazil's base stations are fiber-connected, but Cardoso expects that to grow to 32 percent by 2014. Many are still using TDM in the backhaul network, and Cardoso says one carrier actually has 90 percent of its sites running on one E1 circuit.

This is very powerful stuff and, from a telecom marketing perspective, a very effective way for NSN to tell its own mobile backhaul technology story.

— Joe Braue, Group Director and SVP, Light Reading

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