Brazilian 2.5GHz auction nudged back to year-end; AT&T expected to participate

3 Jun 2015

Joao Rezende, the president of Brazil’s Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes (Anatel), has confirmed that the government’s auction of unsold spectrum in the 2.5GHz band – originally scheduled for October – will be delayed until November or December. According to TeleTime, the auction will see frequencies sold in around 4,600 municipalities. Previously, in June 2012 Brazilian pay-TV providers Sunrise Telecomunicacoes (now ON Telecom) and Sky Brasil Servicos (Sky Brazil) secured 2.5GHz spectrum for Time Division-Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) use, although the bulk of the nationwide frequencies went unsold as the aforementioned companies concentrated on buying licences within their franchise areas.

In related news, AT&T Inc – which is close to assuming a 93% stake in Sky Brazil, via its pending takeover of international satellite TV group DirecTV – is sending a pair of senior executives to Brazil this month, as the company ramps up its Latin American ambitions. Sources with knowledge of the matter say the visit is in connection to Sky Brazil’s desire to expand its 2.5GHz networks into Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Sao Paulo. Chief strategy officer John Stankey will join CEO Randall Stephenson on his trip to South America, the source confirmed.

As reported yesterday by CommsUpdate, AT&T is said to have also approached Mexican telecoms regulator Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) with a request for a 50MHz block of frequencies in the 2.5GHz band. AT&T has a presence in Mexico via its newly acquired Iusacell and Nextel mobile units, and also stands to gain a 41.3% stake in pay-TV operator Sky Mexico via the aforementioned DirecTV merger. Outside of Brazil and Mexico, the satellite TV company’s current management team has launched TD-LTE fixed-wireless technology via DirecTV Argentina and DirecTV Colombia, with plans afoot to initiate similar deployments in Venezuela and Peru.