Brazil’s 3G success Story- A Seminar

Pakistan and Brazil have been working on many projects together for the past few years but their collaborative efforts in IT industry certainly hold supreme importance. To further strengthen these ties a seminar on the topic of “3G Success Story in Brazil” was organized today at the Brazilian embassy, Islamabad where a comprehensive presentation on the topic was given by Ricardo Tavares, CEO of the Brazilian Company TechPolis (Technology Policy and Global ICT Regulation). The seminar was hosted by Brazilian Ambassador, Alfredo Leone and attended by many notable personalities from the IT industry of Pakistan.

The event holds a great importance for Pakistan’s telecom industry as the arrival of 3G in Pakistan is highly anticipated in upcoming months. The basic aim of the presentation also was to highlight the similarities between Pakistani and Brazilian 3G environment and how Pakistan could learn from Brazilian operators’ experiences. The presentation gave a comprehensive review of how 3G started off in Brazil in December 2007 and where it stands today.

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While talking about the evolution of 3G in Brazil Ricardo stated that in 2007 four major telcos participated in the 3G auction, and the government generated revenues of 3.14 billion dollars which was to be collected over 10 year time. He said that bidding amount rose when Nextel decided to participate in the bidding but later on walked out of the process and later on bought the spectrum frequency in 2010.

He also stated that in 2007 there were 2492 million 3G users but as per the 2nd quarter of 2013 it reached to 77,398 million. He said that the major reason behind the growth was the increase of smartphones penetration in the market. All operators introduced special customized packages for internet which helped in attracting customers and increasing 3G revenues.

Ricardo suggested that Pakistan should also define its 3G horizon involving all the major stakeholders and the planning should not limit to the auction process only, but the post 3G scenario should also be forecasted and properly planned out. He said that unfavorable auction can be turned around if the post auction process is well planned. Operators play a major role in the overall success of 3G in the country because Backhaul strategy and Package Plan evolution are most important ingredients for 3G success.

At the end of the seminar there was also a question answer session in which Ricardo gave detailed answers to the queries, which was equally insightful as the seminar itself. All the guests actively engaged in the discussion and shared their apprehensions about the future of 3G in Pakistan.

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While answering a question about why should not Pakistan move to 4G instead of 3G Ricardo said that it is more beneficial to go step by step in the evolution of technology. He said that Pakistan is already behind the world in 3G introduction and if it now calls off its 3G plans and move towards 4G, it will lose another couple of years. In addition to that, the LTE devices and backhaul are also expensive at the moment which will require far more investment. Moving towards 3G before LTE is in favor of Pakistan as it will help in creating backhaul for 4G. It will take lesser time to start LTE once the 3G is launched so it should be an issue right now.

In response to another question regarding the appropriate strategy of operators to attract customers to 3G, Ricardo said that massive marketing should be started by the operators in order to attract customers to their 3G services. Government should also facilitate operators by cutting down the taxes on 3G devices and infrastructures. He said that operators should also develop customized package plans to attract the customers. He said that this was the technique that Brazilian operators used that bore fruitful results. Pakistani operators should also benefit from the Brazilian operators’ experiences.

It was indeed an important event for the Telecom industry of Pakistan as it surely helped in clearing the apprehensions and doubts of many about the future of 3G in Pakistan.

About Ricardo Tavares:

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Ricardo Tavares is an expert in telecommunications regulation and technology policy in emerging markets, with extensive international management and strategic consulting experience. He advises mobile operators, equipment suppliers and technology innovators on critical ICT policy and regulatory issues. Ricardo Taravers has also led public policy efforts for several clients in 25 emerging markets, including all four BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), opening up new spectrum bands for 3G and 4G, reducing taxation on mobile broadband, expanding mobile financial services for the poor and improving regulatory regimes, resulting in billions of dollars in new investments and exponential growth of mobile phone penetration across the globe.

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