TIM Brasil questions timing of Brazil’s 4G auction

11 Apr 2012

Brazilian mobile operator TIM Brasil has published a statement questioning the national telecoms regulator, Anatel’s, decision to forge ahead with the sale of 4G frequencies in the 450MHz and 2.5GHz bands, calling it ‘a premature initiative’. Highlighting what it sees as potential risks in the plan, TIM Brasil argues that the watchdog’s bidding documents contain elements that could adversely impact competitiveness among potential bidders. One area of concern to TIM is the occupation of the 450MHz spectrum by existing pay-TV and Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) operators, which it feels must be debated urgently, given that the auction is likely to be held in June. TIM Brasil’s head of regulatory affairs Mario Girasole said: ‘The balance of spectrum use is a principle that has made Brazil one of the most competitive markets in the world. There is a risk of cannibalisation if the carriers’ obligation to waive rights to the spectrum in advance – where they already have the right to use MMDS – is not taken into account.’ Girasole notes that all participating operators will need to deploy a network in the 450MHz band for rural coverage, but that businesses which already offer pay-TV or MMDS in this frequency band have an unfair advantage and as such, should be made to renounce their interest in this block. TIM Brasil is also concerned about Anatel’s plan to auction combined frequencies of 450MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum, saying that when the government previously issued its general plan for universal coverage (or PGMU), a number of operators refused to take responsibility to bring coverage to rural areas. Despite having a number of reservations though, Girasole has confirmed that TIM Brasil is interested in participating in the auction.

Brazil, TIM Brasil