MMDS operators say Ericsson, Qualcomm blocking WiMAX development in Brazil

5 Jun 2009

Neotec, the organisation representing the views of Brazil’s licensed multichannel multipoint distribution service (MMDS) operators, has accused 3G operators and equipment suppliers of doing all they can to block the award of WiMAX licences in the 2.5GHz band. As the long-running dispute between both sides rumbles on, Jose Luiz Frauendorf, executive director at Neotec, is quoted by as saying: ‘The lobbying of Ericsson and Qualcomm is strong and they are doing everything they can in order to postpone any WiMAX deployment at 2.5GHz’. Frauendorf went on to point out that the agency was ‘still fighting with Anatel’, adding that the Brazilian Congress was now getting involved. In Neotec’s view, Brazil’s 3G licence holders are concerned that MMDS operators will be allowed to use part of the 2.5GHz spectrum for high speed mobile WiMAX (802.16e) services, when they were forced to stump up a total of USD3.4 billion for their licences in December 2007. Frauendorf believes the 3G lobby groups are also worried that should mobile WiMAX get a foothold in Brazil, it would leave little room for LTE. The Neotec official accused Anatel of being ‘overly influenced’ by companies backing W-CDMA platforms and of failing ‘to acknowledge the rights of the MMDS players’. In another earlier interview, Frauendorf summed up Neotec’s position: ‘According to law in Brazil, MMDS is classed as a telecommunications service and the licensees are allowed to provide all services the technology permits in that spectrum, which includes pay-TV and broadband access on a fixed and portable basis …. There [are] a lot of people at Anatel, however, that like to think that MMDS is a pay-TV system only, but that is not correct. We are backed up by the constitution.’