Agreements have been reached to make sure that the very latest internet coverage will be available in Brazil for next year’s FIFA World Cup. It means that fans will be able to access information via their smart phones and tablets and even Tweet from the matches as there will be 4G coverage in the stadiums – they will also be able to go online at airports.
More than half a million soccer fans are expected to travel to Brazil for the World Cup. Many will be emailing and posting photos on social networks during the games and this would have congested local wireless networks. However, there is still confusion over how international users will be able to use the internet. For example, most smart phones in the United States and Europe use the 700 MHz frequency, while Brazil’s 4G network uses 2.5 GHz.
Brazilian Communications Minister, Paulo Bernardo, confirmed that each of the 12 stadiums hosting the 32 nation tournament will have two separate 50 gigabyte networks connected to Brazil’s fibre optic backbone. He also confirmed that fans with a 700 MHz cell phone will not be able to use 4G, they will have to use 3G. He recommended that fans leave their cell phones at home to avoid paying ‘scorching’ international roaming fees, and instead get a local chip on arrival in Brazil.
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There had been concerns that the necessary antennas would not be installed at airports due to a disagreement between airport operator Infraero and other companies in relation to the amount paid for the installation of antennas in the terminals. Bernardo confirmed that an agreement has now been reached and the upgrade can go ahead.
He explained that getting the antenna agreements means that officials can now move forward with plans for providing the technology needed. ‘We want quality and we want companies to improve the service, but we must have the infrastructure,’ he said. Bernardo added that the inclusion of 4G coverage within the stadiums is innovative and noted that Brazil is the first country to host a global event with the fourth generation technology.
This year’s Confederations Cup has given the country the chance to check out the technology ahead of next year’s event. In the six host cities of the FIFA Confederations Cup, Telebras has already built networks to provide support for stadiums, soccer team training camps and media centres. In addition, Anatel has agreed with operators to ensure internet coverage within the arenas.