The 5G frequency auction was scheduled to take place in March 2020. Then, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC) estimated that there would be a delay, pushing the deadline for the second half due to interference with Open satellite TV. Now, changes by an Anatel board member should postpone the bidding until the end of next year.
According to TeleSynthesis, board member Vicente Aquino proposed a series of changes to the auction notice, including:
- some frequencies would not be sold in a national block, but in 14 different regions;
- the spectra of the 2.3 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands would be divided into 10 MHz lots, and would have to be purchased by companies interested in multiple rounds or in combinatorial auctions (CCA);
- halving the spectrum for sale on the 26 GHz frequency;
- operators that bid for frequencies will have to fulfill coverage commitments, including 4G or 5G service in municipalities with less than 30,000 inhabitants, highways and locations that do not have cellular service today.
The changes fully alter the proposal for the 5G auction, making the entire bidding process difficult. A great example is the fragmentation of blocks in the frequencies from 2.3 GHz onwards: already counting on the reduction, the 26 GHz band would have 1,600 MHz of spectrum that would be divided into 160 blocks of 10 MHz.
Anatel will make public consultation before 5G bidding
With profound changes, counselor Emmanoel Campelo asked for views of the process to make due diligence. After undergoing public consultation, the text of the bidding notice will be submitted for technical analysis by Anatel, in addition to an opinion from the Specialized Federal Attorney’s Office.
O TeleSynthesis provides that, if the public consultation is opened in December and concluded by the end of February, the text of the notice may be up to six months under evaluation by the Federal Audit Court, in addition to a new analysis of the technical area and the opinion of the federal attorney’s office.
With such profound changes, the auction may discourage investors, who are no longer very excited about 5G: Claro should not expand investments for new technology in Latin America, while Vivo and Oi are in no hurry. Operators abroad are facing a series of difficulties with the technology, mainly in relation to coverage with millimeter frequencies (mmWave).
A recent study by network provider Ericsson points out that the government will stop collecting R $ 25 billion in taxes if the auction is delayed to 2021.
With information: TeleSynthesis.