Brazil’s 5G spectrum auction: will it now happen in August?

Brazil’s 5G spectrum auction: will it now happen in August?

Brazil’s much-delayed 5G spectrum auction has been moved a few times. Recent adjustments involved an auction late last year, after which June and July this year were among dates mooted. Now the dates have changed again.

According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, reporting a statement by the minister of communications Fabio Faria at Mobile World Congress 2021 in Barcelona, the planned multi-band 5G spectrum auction will now be staged in August this year. The minister revealed this information during a ministerial panel at the event.

The latest delay may have been due to the length of time taken by the audit court Federal Court of Accounts (Tribunal de Contas da Uniao, TCU) in its analysis of the tender terms proposed by regulator Anatel.

As website BNAmericas pointed out in May, there were disagreements about the values and obligations established in the tender terms; there were also a number of questions made to Anatel by TCU about the rules. These rules included the requirement of winners of the 3.5GHz band to spend money on certain government projects; this seems to have been queried by TCU.

At the time these issues seemed to imply a delay until September or later, though August now appears to be the target month. However, the proposal from Anatel that 5G networks must be available in Brazil in state capitals one year after the frequencies are assigned originally mentioned July 2022. If the bidding is delayed, this date will also have to be changed.

The delayed spectrum sale will include frequencies in the 700MHz, 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz bands, as well 26GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum.

Last June Brazil dropped plans to hold its 5G frequency auction at the end of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The auction was then scheduled to take place during the first half of 2021.

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