Brazilian owned fixed and mobile operator Oi SA faces sanctions from the industry watchdog Anatel over its failure to meet its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) commercial launch requirements by the 30 April deadline. BNamericas quotes regulator president Joao Rezende as saying that the penalties will start with fines. ‘Our officials are monitoring the cities that according to the deadline should have received the technology from the operators today. Clearly, the 30 April deadline set out in the terms of the 4G refers to the commercial availability of the technology and those who have not offered 4G plans will be fined,’ Rezende said.
Last week, TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that Oi SA, formed through the restructuring of Telemar Participacoes’ former operating divisions Brasil Telecom, Tele Norte Leste Participacoes, Coari Participacoes and Telemar Norte Leste, had announced the launch of commercial 4G services in Rio de Janeiro – one of the six FIFA football Confederations Cup host cities – but added that people living in Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza will have to wait until May before its LTE networks come on-stream. Oi SA was required to have 4G technology in place in the aforementioned host cities by 30 April, at which date they must be available to at least 50% of the urban population. However, its chief operating officer James Meaney said at the time that the coverage requirement concern only the technical availability of 4G, not the actual commercial launch. ‘Commercial strategies concern the operator only. For strategic reasons we prefer not to reveal ours for the remaining cities. But the technology will be available by the deadline set, with sales beginning in the first half of May,’ the COO said.
Mr Rezende has dismissed the Oi official’s claim though, and reiterated that any operator failing to meet the terms and conditions of its 4G licence award will be fined. It is understood that the size of any potential fines will be calculated by Anatel’s newly created accountability department. Rezende did, however, rule out the possibility of Anatel revoking any 4G spectrum over the matter.