Claro will launch the first EDGE handsets and services in the Brazilian market in the middle of next year, according to Marco Aurélio Quatorze, marketing manager for value-added services. It needs the long lead time because EDGE handsets aren?t available yet here. ?Nokia has promised to launch a model early in 2004. SonyEricsson, Siemens and Motorola are also developing EDGE handsets,? he says.
Among the services available to users of EDGE handsets will be MP3 file downloading, video streaming and online multiplayers for games. These applications require broadband and therefore don?t work well with GPRS, limited to about 35 kbps compared with 100 kbps for EDGE.
Claro is the only carrier in Brazil with an EDGE-ready network. ?We required this when we purchased GSM base stations. It was a large-scale acquisition so we paid practically no extra for EDGE,? says Marco Aurélio Quatorze.
Testing in São Paulo
Claro is already testing its network in São Paulo. On Tuesday, September 9, CEO Carlos Henrique Moreira exhibited his GSM handset operating experimentally during the seminar on Telecommunications: Competition & Policies. Delivery of commercial service is set to begin in October in the city.