Anatel approves rules for 5G auction

The Directing Council of the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) approved on Thursday (25) the announcement that defines the rules for the bidding of 5G in Brazil. The lawsuit had last postponed in early February this year, when councilors asked for views of the process, and the meeting this time was almost six hours long. The vote was three votes in favor against two against.

The approved notice provides for the commercialization of the 700 MHz, 2.3 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands in the country following the same “lots” defined above.

According to the proposal, 5G should be implemented by operators by July 31, 2022 in capitals and the Federal District. From this date on, the other municipalities will be covered gradually, with priority defined according to the number of inhabitants.

The rules also determine the following pace for installation in other cities:

with more than 500 thousand inhabitants until July 2025;
with more than 200 thousand inhabitants until July 2026
with more than 100 thousand inhabitants until July 2027
50% of the municipalities with more than 30 thousand inhabitants until July 2028;
all municipalities with more than 30 thousand inhabitants until July 2029

Some changes

In all, the original public notice document was approved with few changes. The so-called Release 16, which was the most controversial point of the debate, was maintained – it foresees the installation of the most updated version of 5G, even if it only happens after the mobile connectivity in current standards is already in operation.

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One of the rapporteurs, Carlos Baigorri, stressed the need not to rush the process to avoid a “half-mouthed” service. In addition, the councilors decided to anticipate the start of implementation, which previously had a deadline of December 2022, for believing in the potential for transforming technology in industry sectors.

For operators, the investment will be greater in the 3.5 GHz band. This is because the announcement calls for the construction of 5G standalone, that is, new networks that only serve this connectivity. There will also be a “reimbursement criterion” for channels that transmit images via satellite, since the signal must be migrated to another band.

In addition, it was defined that the 26 GHz band (called mmWave) can also serve as a Multimedia Communication Service (SCM). This means that it can also involve the fixed broadband sector.

And now?

Before being made effective, the public notice will still be analyzed by the Federal Audit Court (TCU). In addition, there is no impediment to the participation of infrastructure companies interested in providing the technology to operators – which mainly concerns the Chinese manufacturer Huawei.

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