MWC 2014: Alcatel-Lucent in femtocell deal with TIM to improve 3G network

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2014), Alcatel-Lucent announced that TIM will integrate femtocells to its 3G network to improve coverage and capacity for subscribers.

On February 14, 2013, TIM Brazil said its Capex (capital spending) rose 3 percent to R$3.9 billion in 2013. Out of this, 90 percent was allocated to telecom infrastructure. Fiber-To-The-Site (FTTS) advances: 95 percent of phase 1 and 2 completed for 35 cities.

Also read: TIM Brasil Capex increases 3 percent in 2013

Over a three-year period, TIM Brazil will use Alcatel-Lucent’s Enterprise Cell 9362, Homecell 9361, and Metrocell Outdoor 9364 to deliver cost effective solution to improve coverage and capacity for subscribers. The project will be expanded as part of the network’s overall infrastructure.

Femtocells won’t replace the traditional Radio Base Stations due to limited capacity and potency, but they have already flared-up around the world as an alternative to support coverage in areas with high traffic density, offering good service levels for clients and low environmental impacts.

“TIM will make significant investments in femtocells by 2016. TIM network overview is diversified, as part of our strategy to increasingly invest in this type of technology,” said Daniel Hermeto, director of Supplies and Supply Chain at TIM Brasil.

There are currently 7 million micro-cells installed worldwide, 60 percent of which are in U.S., 30 percent in Asian-Pacific region, and 10 percent in Europe. The main driver is to support data traffic growth.

TIM Brasil’s data Revenues grew 21.5 percent to R$5.4 billion, supported by increasing smart/web phone penetration, accounting for around 55 percent of total base.

Marco Di Costanzo, Mobile Network Director at TIM Brasil, said: “An etherogeneous cellular network means adding a femtocell layer (indoor use) and small cell layer (micro- and pico-cells for outdoor or indoor use) to the traditional macro-cellular layer.”

TIM in femtocell deal with Alcatel

TIM is expecting better AMPU (minute per user) and ARPU (revenue per user), in addition to a significant improvement in voice and data traffic. TIM Brasil earlier said its postpaid customer base grew 14.6 percent, while voice postpaid grew 20.7 percent. Voice MOU closed the year with an average of 148, registering an increase of 8.8 percent.

Frost & Sullivan says TIM signed a memorandum of understanding to expand the sharing of network access equipment, currently exists only for LTE in the 2.5Ghz frequency, also for 3G networks.

Renato Pasquini, Telecommunications Manager at Frost & Sullivan for Latin America, comments on the implications for the Brazilian market: “This type of agreement is very important to cover small cities with 3G, where the economic attractiveness for investment in mobile networks is low.”

TIM currently holds a client base of 73.4 million and a market share of 27.09 percent in Brazil.

Over the three-year period leading to 2016, the company will invest in infrastructure over 90 percent of the estimated R$ 11 billion in Brazilian investments.

To expand and improve the network, the carrier acquired assets such as Intelig (2009) and AES Atimus (2011) and implements special project, such as fiber optic network installations in the Northern region of the country, via LT Amazonas, which promoted the digital inclusion of populations in remote areas of the country.