During the Futurecom 2019 fair, executives from TIM and Live confirmed their interest in acquiring the mobile division of Hi. Operators initially denied speculation, but now openly discuss the issue: they can expand their frequency spectrum to compete with Claro, which will have greater capacity after the incorporation of Nextel.
Vivo’s CEO, Christian Gebara, said that Vivo will always analyze the assets available on the market, and that the operator would be interested in acquiring Oi frequencies if they are for sale. TIM’s CEO, Pietro Labriola, said something similar: the company will evaluate a possible purchase if it creates value for shareholders.
However, both executives indicate that the acquisition would be conditioned to Anatel’s 5G auction, which should take place next year. Gebara says that the auction will make licenses available that can also be used with 4G, which is the case for the 700 MHz and 2.3 GHz frequencies.
Vivo does not aim at Oi’s fixed telephone network, while TIM considers acquiring the operator’s backhaul if this generates value. During the disclosure of financial results, Claro also showed interest in buying Oi, depending on the details of the business and barriers of Brazilian legislation.
Oi frequencies would be welcome for TIM and Vivo
The acquisition of Oi’s spectrum would be of great value to any of the operators, which were left with a very large capacity gap in relation to Claro due to the purchase of Nextel.
However, it is important to remember that, for frequencies between 1 GHz and 3 GHz, Anatel establishes a maximum limit of 172.5 MHz of capacity per provider per municipality – which can be extended to 181.12 MHz upon authorization from the agency.
See below the spectrum of each operator in each region, followed by the sum of the frequencies. The yellow cells represent regions where the limit can be extended by Anatel; and in red, where the limit is exceeded. In the latter case, the operator would have to return the surplus to the Union.
|Region||TIM spectrum||Vivo Spectrum||Oi Spectrum||TIM + Oi spectrum||Vivo + Oi spectrum|
|SP (Capital)||90 MHz||90 MHz||80 MHz||170 MHz||170 MHz|
|SP (Interior)||90 MHz||95 MHz||90 MHz||180 MHz||185 MHz|
|RJ / ES||80 MHz||90 MHz||95 MHz||175 MHz||185 MHz|
|MG||70 MHz||90 MHz||80 MHz||150 MHz||170 MHz|
|PR / SC||70 MHz||90 MHz||90 MHz||160 MHz||180 MHz|
|LOL||85 MHz||90 MHz||95 MHz||180 MHz||185 MHz|
|Midwest, RO / AC / TO||85 MHz||90 MHz||90 MHz||180 MHz||185 MHz|
|North, MA||80 MHz||95 MHz||80 MHz||160 MHz||175 MHz|
|BA / SE||60 MHz||90 MHz||90 MHz||155 MHz||185 MHz|
|Northeast||60 MHz||120 MHz||80 MHz||140 MHz||200 MHz|
Recently, TIM asked Cade to restrict Claro’s spectrum, albeit temporarily, due to the purchase of Nextel. The acquisition does not violate the capacity limit in frequencies between 1 GHz and 3 GHz, but Labriola says that the antitrust body was triggered because the issue is not regulatory, but competition.