The future was uncertain for the mobile division of Hi: the strategic plan for the 2019-2021 three-year period practically did not address the cell phone operation, in addition to speculation of purchase by Claro, TIM and Vivo. However, the operator announced during the Futurecom fair that it is looking at the next frequency auction for 5G. She also suggests that she will focus on fiber optic IPTV instead of satellite pay TV.
According to the company’s operational director, Rodrigo Abreu (former CEO of TIM), Oi intends to buy 5G frequencies and the remaining 700 MHz. The operator did not participate in the last bid, which took place in a financially delicate moment due to judicial recovery.
The auction rules were not 100% defined due to changes suggested by Anatel’s Vicente Aquino, but it is very likely that Claro, TIM and Vivo will not be able to finish off the 700 MHz spectrum, since they have already done so in the past.
The frequency of 700 MHz is important because it has a much higher range than the traditional 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz and 2,600 MHz that Oi currently has, and can improve coverage with fewer antennas.
For the 5G, the operator is looking at the frequency of 3.5 GHz, but has not yet defined whether to buy the high frequencies of millimeter waves. The operator announced that it intends to use the technology to expand fixed broadband, since speed and latency reach a level similar to that Oi delivers with FTTH technology (optical fiber to the customer’s home).
Oi relies on the sale of non-strategic assets to raise cash and to put the strategic plan into practice and participate in the frequency auction. A possible delay in this auction could benefit the operator: it should only occur at the end of 2020, after the request for views, public consultation and other procedures.
Oi stops investing in satellite TV
Although it was the only operator to grow in the pay TV service in recent years, Oi will change its strategy and will no longer stimulate DTH (satellite) technology. Instead, it will provide space for streaming services and for IPTV associated with fiber optic broadband.
According to Abreu, satellite TV costs are high due to the receiver’s subsidy. The executive says that the operator invested R $ 600 million in DTH at a time of limited investment funds, which does not make sense with a plan of R $ 7 billion for expansion with fiber.
Most of Oi’s mobile and broadband plans already include some type of content via streaming, such as Netflix and YouTube. And, recently, the operator started selling the Streaming Box in partnership with Elsys.