Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) is racing against the clock to get its PCS service up and running by the end of September in major cities around Brazil. The priority is São Paulo State, where it plans to start delivering commercial service in the metropolitan area and seaboard as well as upstate urban centers such as Ribeirão Preto, Campinas and Jundiaí. It will operate 700 base stations throughout the state, 380 of them in the metropolitan area. The rush is to finish installing transmission equipment after the delays caused by Anatel?s refusal to grant permission for startup until Telecom Italia, TIM?s parent, relinquished control of fixed-line incumbent Brasil Telecom. In the city of São Paulo and its vicinity, for example, TIM has to install equipment at some 50 sites within the next couple of weeks.
While calling on suppliers to work overtime so that its undisclosed targets can be reached, TIM Brazil issued a press release Wednesday, September 18, saying everything is ready for launch. Investment between now and 2004 will total 3.93 billion Brazilian Reals (currently about 1.25bn US Dollars); 2002 capex for the new GSM network will amount to 1.38bn BRL (439.5m USD), the statement said. Asked about the launch date, CEO Marco de Lissicich declined specify a deadline but said GSM handsets will be available locally by the end of this year.