Winity, which became a new Brazilian national mobile operator in 2021, and satellite operator Hughes have announced a pilot project involving prepaid mobile internet in remote areas.
The project is called RuralChip and uses 700MHz spectrum won by Winity at auction in 2021. Ericsson, Nokia and Algar Telecom are among the partners for the project.
The duo's proof of concept is taking place in two cities: Presidente Juscelino and Cururupu. Both are in Maranhão state in northern Brazil. In the first city the access network provider is Ericsson. The other uses technology provided by Nokia. Algar Telecom provides the network core along with charging, provisioning, NOC and data centre services.
Both sites will make use of Hughes' high-capacity satellite backhaul solution, an LTE site and a Winity network core, effectively creating a 4G network to serve RuralChip customers in the areas covered.
The official launch of the project took place last week. The plan is to refine the solution for a future deployment at scale throughout the country, making possible the digital inclusion of thousands of people and the economic development of these regions, in line with Winity's business plan, which is to get to where no other operator has reached to date.
According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, Winity Telecom – which is backed by alternative asset management firm Patria Investimentos – successfully bid on a national 2×10MHz 700MHz licence in Brazil’s November 2021 5G spectrum auction, paying BRL1.428 billion (USD276.8 million) – the highest bid for a single spectrum lot in the auction.
Winity plans to build 5,000 cell towers by 2029 and to establish itself as Brazil’s first wholesale operator.