Anatel considers sanctioning use of 700MHz band to help meet 2.5GHz rollout targets

24 Oct 2013

Telecoms watchdog Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes (Anatel) is said to be mulling over a plan to allow winners of 700MHz mobile frequency spectrum in its proposed 2014 auction, to use the new bandwidth to help meet the coverage goals of the 2.5GHz tender held in 2012. With both allocations set up for the provision of 4G network services, Anatel says it sees no problem in using the lower band frequencies to beef up the country’s 2.5GHz coverage goals. Speaking at the Futurecom conference in Rio de Janeiro, Anatel head Joao Rezende confirmed that such a plan would still need to be properly evaluated by the government and the federal audit body TCU, to assess whether it will be feasible to ‘match’ the respective tender terms. In a briefing with journalists, BNAmericas quotes Rezende as saying it was ‘plausible’ that, in the future, such an evaluation process could ultimately lead to a situation where the regulator can comfortably adopt a ‘freedom-of-use’ approach regarding radio spectrum. ‘This is the best option, and something many markets are adopting given the complimentary characteristics seen in the 2.5GHz and the 700MHz for 4G,’ he noted.

Additionally, the Anatel official also highlighted the agency’s intention to shift focus away from the regulation of the retail market and onto wholesale regulation, whilst simultaneously allaying concerns that the launch of 4G in the 700MHz band will not interfere with TV broadcasters currently using parts of that band for the delivery of analogue TV services. ‘The communications ministry’s commitment is that no sector will be affected. We are working for the coexistence of both industries,’ he said. A study into the possible impact of interference in the 700MHz band and regulation vis-a-vis the reallocation of TV channels is due for completion by the year end. Simultaneously, Anatel ‘s public consultation on 4G in the 700MHz band is due to conclude in December, with the terms of the tender following ahead of the tender process itself in H2 2014.