Unlike the United States, which runs 4G at a frequency of 3.5 GHz, Brazil's 4G will occupy 2.5 GHz, a frequency commonly used in Asia, the Middle East, and several European countries. Anatel has planned a second auction of 700 MHz (698MHz-806MHz) band mobile broadband licenses for August, where carriers can bid for 2x10 MHz blocks.
"There have been some topological challenges, but overall what operators are experiencing is a combination of different things: site identification and selection, and at 2.5 GHz there's a physical support limitation on site density," Calaff said. "To get the same coverage with the same population [at 700 MHz] you'd need twice the number of sites."
According to a report from telecom union Sinditelebrasil on wireless readiness for the Confederation Cup, Brazil's larger stadiums -- Rio de Janeiro, National Stadium, and Belo Horizonte -- had an average 3G capacity of 2.8 Gbits/s and 14,000 simultaneous communications; those stadiums had an average 1.96 Gbits/s 4G data rate and could sustain approximately 9,900 simultaneous users. Smaller stadiums supported 2 Gbits/s 3G and 1.57 Gbits/s 4G.
"If one million people come to Brazil, it makes no difference for the whole of everyday service," said Sinditelebrasil President Eduardo Levy. "We're expecting to have more data usage than last year at the Confederations Cup, when we had 1.5 new smartphone connections every second and 30 million new smartphones," Levy said.
Last year's Confederations Cup tested beta 4G and existing 3G networks. Carriers will have to take a more realistic look at capacity as millions more smartphones make connections this June.
Additionally, Brazil's strict laws for deploying mobile telephone infrastructure make achieving high data rates extremely difficult. Sinditelebrasil reports that there are about 250 restrictive municipal and state laws for deploying mobile infrastructure, which cover 1,805 municipalities. Laws requiring licenses for the installation of over 9,000 antennas are among the legal challenges facing carriers as they roll out 4G.
Due to these laws, some companies only received a release to begin construction two months before the Confederations Cup while others had to complete installation after the competition. Still, a Sinditelebrasil release said, 1.7 million cellphone connections and more than 4.6 million data communications were made during the games with an average size of 0.5 MB.