Six go nuts for 4G in Brazil

7 Jun 2012

A total of six telecoms groups have filed the required documents as well as their price proposals for Brazil’s upcoming auction of mobile frequencies in the 2.5GHz and 450MHz bands for 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, and to expand rural wireless broadband access, Anatel reports. The watchdog has confirmed that it has received applications from telcos Vivo Participacoes, TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil), Telecom Americas (Claro) and Oi SA, as well as from pay-TV providers Sky Brasil Servicos and Sunrise Telecomunicacoes. The last-named pay-TV company is based in Sao Paulo and was acquired last week by Hungarian billionaire George Soros – as part of his plans to secure 4G frequencies in the tender. It is understood that Claro, owned by Mexico’s America Movil, is bidding via local vehicle ‘Americel’, while TIM Brasil is bidding through Intelig – a local unit of Italian parent Telecom Italia.

A number of major Brazilian players are conspicuous by their absence though. Neither Global Village Telecom (GVT), the broadband, TV and fixed telephony provider controlled by Vivendi of France, or Nextel Brasil, an iDEN-based, US-owned digital trunking operator, are taking part, although the latter’s parent – NII Holdings – is working towards a launch of 3G services in Brazil by December. Another company missing from the line-up is Swedish firm AINMT (Net1) which previously joined Vivo, TIM Brasil, Claro and Oi SA in calling for changes to the tender terms and conditions. Anatel rejected the companies’ requests.

The regulator is planning to auction off a total of 273 blocks of spectrum, with the winners set to be unveiled on 12 June. Anatel president Joao Batista Rezende is on record as saying that the process is expected to raise around BRL3.85 billion (USD1.9 billion) for state coffers.