Anatel approves 5G auction rules; govt will not ban Huawei from rollouts

26 Feb 2021

Plans to stage Brazil’s long-awaited 5G spectrum auction continue to gather pace, with the National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel) approving certain 5G-related rules yesterday (25 February). While the full rules have not yet been disclosed publicly, Reuters reports that participating operators will be obliged to deploy Standalone (SA) 5G networks by 2022, rather than relying on dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology, which enables the parallel operation of 4G and 5G services via one frequency band.

In addition, the news agency reports that the watchdog has paved the way for Huawei Technologies of China to participate in the rollout of commercial 5G networks, ending speculation that the vendor would be prohibited from playing a part in the process. President Jair Bolsonaro has previously criticised the Chinese company and was under pressure from the former Trump administration to ban Huawei, citing security concerns. The threat prompted Brazil’s telecom companies to complain that by excluding Huawei it would cost them billions of dollars to replace existing equipment; they collectively estimated that the Chinese company supplies around 50% of their respective 3G and 4G infrastructure.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, back in February 2020 the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (Ministerio da Ciencia, Tecnologia, Inovacoes e Comunicacoes, MCTIC) provided its own approval of the 5G auction process. The spectrum sale, which will include frequencies in the 700MHz, 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz bands, as well 26GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum, has been delayed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but is expected to take place before end-June 2021.