Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) is all set to start migrating its Brazilian TDMA networks to GSM following Anatel?s approval of the proposed terms of the deal by which parent company Telecom Italia will transfer part of its stake in Brasil Telecom (BrT). TIM has TDMA networks in the South (TIM Sul) and Northeast (TIM Nordeste), as well as Maxitel (Minas Gerais, Bahia and Sergipe). The company?s original plan as passed to suppliers called for work on network overlay to achieve nationwide GSM coverage to begin as soon as possible after the PCS licenses were in place. The delay in obtaining approval for startup forced TIM to halt investment while a solution was worked out at BrT to satisfy Anatel. TIM is now expected to resume RFPs for installation of a GPRS platform in the new network. GSM overlay will also require procurement of new transmission and switching equipment. Most of the base stations currently in use for TDMA will do service for GSM but additional sites will have to be built, since coverage plans for GSM and TDMA are different. In February 2002 Marco De Benedetti, TIM?s group CEO, forecast capex of 458 million euros to complete the migration. The process will be gradual and the rate at which new facilities are brought on line will vary from one operator to another. GPRS will be adopted only in certain major cities.
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