Saturday, 9 April 2011

Radio calling on your mobile?


I landed at 5:15am which means yesterday wasn´t quite my first full day in São Paulo but it definitely felt like it. The old memories of Brazil came flooding back every time I looked out of the window, spoke to a local or had some food and I remembered why I chose to come here. But the biggest surprise of the day was when I went to try and buy a mobile phone. They started talking to me about radio calls (conexão direita) which completely threw me (radio signal yes, but radio calls?!!) It turns out that the operator, in this case Nextel, has a separate network on a proprietary frequency which enables handset to handset radio calls. It also enables multiple handset calls at low cost. I haven´t tried it yet but it seems it is hugely popular in Brazil due to it being very cheap to use and works well in places like São Paulo. The most similar product you may know is the Walkie Talkie but  apparently unlike Walkie Talkies the conexão direita works long distance as it combines radio signals with the cell phone network. Pretty smart!

Obviously I figured all this out later so there I am in the shop, completely confused as to why there are 2 ways to call someone and 2 different tariffs! I explained to them this was for me a brand new technology that I have never seen before anywhere in Europe and the guy responded that it´s new in Brazil too, about 10 years old he says!!

Anyway here’s the latest Nextel campaign featuring Neymar (the guy’s becoming a huge media icon):

5 comments:

Vic said...

Nextel is big in the US and in Argentina too. In BA is largely used by TV production crews and delivery couriers. I find Nextel users developing a different kind of addiction to mobile phones, which I explain by the distinctive buzz when people switch over (they can't speak both at the same time). On SP first impressions: have you noticed the city's different smell? It took me a while to realise what was that, until I realised it was burnt ethanol coming from car exhausts!

Pierre Larose said...

Great, I´m looking forward to developing a buzz habit! I haven´t picked up on the smell yet Victor but it´s true that Ethanol is used massively for combustion purposes in car and bus engines. We put in a load of Gasohol in to a hire car today which is basically a mix of ethanol and regular petrol. I think it 25% ethanol / 75% petrol, not sure how that affects the smell,I´ve tried to keep my nostrils away from exhaust pipes so far...

IsaacRiquelme said...

The Nextel habit is very addicting, so... perfect for you. In Mexico is more or less usual seen people talking trough this sistem. Is annoing to listen to the beeps and, since they have free calls all the time between Nextel users, is people who talks all the time. However regular calls use to be quitte expensive from Nextel phone so is more or less common having two phones. One Nextel for the radio net and a regular one for regular calls. Take care of inhaling ethanol, more care of tring to drink it!

Mark said...

Yeah, I saw this Nextel thing in Argentina too. I'm with Isaac. The beeps, clicks and listening to the whole conversation gets annoying fast! And they all have to carry 2 mobiles. So between your blackberry, iPhone, chiPhone and now a nexttel you'll have you pockets full :)

Pierre Larose said...

No no no no it´s all integrated o one handset, and it´s great, and it´s unlimited, and everyone uses it. Neymar told me so.

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