The 5G technology, which should be auctioned in the first half of this year, may take another two years to be implemented in Brazil. The delay would be due to a requirement in the draft notice that states the need to clean the 3.5 GHz band, one of the “avenues” that will be available for auction.
Cleaning consists of the migration of people who use TV via satellite dish, which uses the 3.5 GHz band, to a higher band. Thus, investment in the process would increase by R $ 3 billion, according to Conexis, a representative of operators in Brazil.
A lane cleaning has been performed previously. When the 700 MHz “avenue” was switched to 4G, the analogue signal from open TV used this frequency. Thus, it was necessary to migrate analog TV to digital TV in order to clear the spectrum and implement 4G. The move took two years to complete.
According to sources linked to the telecommunications sector, the cleaning process is complex, since it would be necessary to create a network of suppliers, train teams and face bureaucracy in the 26 Brazilian states and the Federal District to negotiate the exemption from ICMS (Tax on Circulation of Goods and Services).
According to the draft, operators would have up to 300 days after authorization to use the frequency to have the 3.5 GHz band clean in capitals and the Federal District. However, it is only from December 31, 2022 that telcos are obliged to have 5G networks.
In addition to cleaning, another requirement of the draft is the implementation of release 16 technology, which guarantees 20 times more speed for downloads and reduces latency. “We cannot frustrate society with just a faster 4G. This whole future of 5G can only be delivered with release 16,” said Anatel’s advisor Carlos Baigorri, commenting on the draft notice in early February.