Oi Brazil Has 4.4 Million Subs

A few years ago, Brazil had only CDMA and analog wireless service, then Anatel, the regulator, opened up some spectrum for GSM mobile services, and Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM)and new entrants such as Oi rushed into the under-developed market. Now, just a couple of years after launch, Oi has 4.4 Million subscribers, and claims that half of all new subscriber adds in Brazil are coming to them. Oi attributes their success to market segmentation, with products designed for families, college students, MTV-branded, etc. During my many business trips and conferences in Brazil over the past few years, I have seen the power of good marketing in the Brazilian market. The GSM operators in Brazil have managed to successfully position GSM as a newer, more modern, more sophisticated, and superior technology than the “old” CDMA. The irony is that GSM is an early 90s digital technology, where CDMA is much newer (~1995) and far more advanced. However, the GSM carriers bundled “advanced” services like SMS and data with their launches, which cemented the perception that GSM was more capable than CDMA. (Apologies that the linked story is in espanol; also, for anyone who wants to debate whether CDMA or GSM is more advanced, we can talk in the comments section about why GSM is using CDMA for 3G.)

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