Fernando Xavier Ferreira, the chief executive of Brazilian fixed line operator Telesp, says it is imperative that companies such as his be allowed to bid for WiMAX wireless broadband licences, as they are the only ones that have the infrastructure and technical and administrative wherewithal needed to roll out low-cost internet services to Brazil’s rural interior. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Ferreira says it is unfair that the regulator Anatel is trying to exclude Brazil’s fixed line operators from the forthcoming auction of WiMAX spectrum, adding that new market entrants would only deploy the service in more financially lucrative towns and cities, contrary to the government’s stated aim of improving rural access.
Brazil is in the process of auctioning spectrum in the 3.5GHz and 10GHz frequency bands for operators wishing to provide WiMAX-based services in certain parts of the country. The tender started on 4 September but was soon interrupted by a court order filed by Anatel to bar fixed line telcos from taking part. The operators have since overturned the ruling leaving the way clear for Telsp and others to bid, but the country’s mobile operators are now concerned that the convergence possibilities that WiMAX offers could provide fixed line operators with an unfair advantage in the burgeoning mobile broadband market. TIM Participacoes’ CEO Mario Cesar Pereira de Araujo fears the move could create an unfair trading environment and has said: ‘You can’t create situations where companies have a monopoly over communications.’