Anatel gets tough: demands MMDS operators to vacate 2.5MHz-2.6MHz band by 12 April

5 Mar 2013

BNamericas writes that Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel has issued a demand to the country’s multichannel multipoint distribution service (MMDS) pay-TV providers, that they vacate the 2.5MHz-2.6MHz bands (set aside for Long Term Evolution [LTE] use) by 12 April, due to rising concerns over the planned rollout of 4G services in Brazil.

Under the terms and conditions of the 2.5GHz tender of LTE spectrum licences, 4G operators are required to have their networks up and running in the six host cities of the FIFA Confederations Cup by 30 April. However, with MMDS providers dragging their feet, the watchdog has issued an ultimatum that any provider that fails to release 2.5MHz-2.6MHz spectrum in these cities before the deadline risks having their licences suspended and their base stations closed down. Further, the regulator has reiterated that service providers must inform their customers about any possible disruptions arising from the migration in advance and offer compensation or an alternative service, if that is the case.

Anatel had previously set 30 June 2013 as the deadline for MMDS operators to free up the 2.5MHz-2.6MHz band, but the pay-TV providers and mobile operators have failed to reach an agreement on the cost of spectrum reallocation. Although Anatel is currently reviewing a number of reallocation requests that could resolve the impasse and is confident of making a final ruling by 30 June, it has issued the interim ultimatum to MMDS operators to ensure the 4G deadline is met.