Anatel says 700MHz tender will be conducted in April/May 2014

20 Aug 2013

Brazil’s telecoms regulator, Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes (Anatel), is contemplating April or May 2014 as the date for its long-anticipated tender for 700MHz mobile frequencies, BNamericas quotes its head Joao Rezende as saying. The Anatel official says that the terms and conditions for the tender are expected to be published by end-December, as Brazil looks to auction off more spectrum to support the rollout of 4G services. However, Rezende has reportedly warned that the actual allocation of 700MHz bandwidth ‘could take longer’ dependent on the evolution of TV digitisation in the country. Brazil has already licensed the use of the 2500MHz band for 4G (completed in June 2012) and its plans for the 700MHz band are contingent on the government’s efforts to free up spectrum currently assigned to analogue TV operators. However, the plans are accelerating and Brazil now hopes to phase out analogue TV signals over three years, starting 2015.

The Anatel supremo also told journalists at a conference in Rio de Janeiro that the agency is considering moves to amend the deadlines for the deployment target of both 3G and 4G services. Under current plans, 3G coverage should be complete by 2017, while that for Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G is slated for 2019. However, Rezende has hinted that the watchdog is considering bringing forward the 3G deadline by one or two years’ and shortening the LTE schedule by twelve months.

Finally, Rezende says that Anatel also plans to cut the number of public telephones in Brazil by 2016. Although around one million are currently in service, the watchdog has noted a continued decline in their usage due to the rapid rise in alternative mobile and broadband offers. As a result, Anatel intends to reduce the total to 600,000 by that date, although it plans to ensure that around half of those retained will be able to offer Wi-Fi connectivity via integrated hotspots implemented by the country’s public telephony licensees.