Brazil’s army has extended its 700 MHz LTE trial to Rio de Janeiro as part of the country’s preparation for soccer’s World Cup and to provide strategic communications for the military as it attempts to combat crime in the region.

In addition to the army’s four-site LTE network in Brasilia that has been in place since 2012, the expansion includes a new site at the Duque de Caxias Palace to cover the area surrounding the famous Maracanã stadium. The World Cup begins next week.

“The sites in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro were selected based on its coverage around high tourist areas,” Gen. Antonino dos Santos Guerra, chief of the Brazilian Army information technology (IT) and communication division, stated in an e-mail interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “For instance, sites were set to ensure broad coverage of government facilities as well major sporting events, such as the football arenas that will be used in 2014 World Cup games.”

After the successful trial of LTE that enabled commanders to view valuable video footage in real time during protests conducted around last year’s Confederations Cup, expanding the network to include the Maracanã stadium—a venue with a capacity of 200,000—was logical, according to Santos Guerra.

“The Brazilian Army will operate 12 centers of command and control during the World Cup,” he said. “They are distributed in the 12 cities that will host the games, and the cities of Brasília and Rio de Janeiro will have the additional support of LTE technology.

“Our commanders and engineers of the Defense Area in these two cities will feel more comfortable in conducting operations of intervention, if needed, as they will have real-time images of the events and incidents. There is no doubt that the decisions and actions arising will be more effective with the support of broadband equipment operating under the LTE network.”

While the LTE trial is designed to support the army’s communications during the upcoming World Cup, the expanded network also has long-term implications in Rio de Janeiro. LTE communications are expected to play a key role as the army and local public-safety agencies combine resources to implement what is called the “San Francisco Operation,” which is an initiative designed to fight drug trafficking in a shantytown in the area, according to Paulo Cunha, president of Motorola Solutions Brazil.

“In order to keep the order and peace, the army is providing some operations that (1) kick out the drug dealers and (2) establish a police unit that they call the peaceful unit in conjunction with the local police plus the army reinforcements,” Cunha said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “So, the idea is to have for the first time an operation that we can use LTE and understand what the benefits are from a command-and-control perspective.”

Santos Guerra echoed this sentiment.

“Looking forward, LTE will provide better deployment conditions for the troops, allowing them to arrive on time and in the right places while producing and garnering images that will serve as expert evidence in cases against criminals and also to ensure that the good performance of the military is shown in the face of frequent clashes that have occurred,” he said.