We reported the likelihood of delays to the Brazilian 5G auction earlier this week. Now a government official has confirmed that interference issues are at least part of the reason for the delays.
Earlier estimates for the auction of 5G spectrum, planned for March, were of an auction late this year or early next year. While it is not clear whether the auction can still take place around this time, press reports have quoted Marcos Pontes, the minister of science, technology, innovation and communications, as saying that the actual introduction of 5G mobile technology in Brazil may not occur until late 2021 or early 2022.
He explained that the 5G auction has been postponed due to interference issues with the 3.5GHz band, which is currently used to support satellite TV services. Pontes was quoted as saying that the authorities need a strategy in place before proceeding, in order to mitigate any issues.
This will come as a disappointment to many players who may have gained hope from the results of tests conducted late last year showing that 5G services are possible in the 3.5GHz band without disrupting satellite TV signals in the C band.
If and when it happens, the auction and consequent rollout, involving the 700MHz, 2.3GHz, 3.5GHz and 26GHz frequency bands, will no doubt be a massive undertaking involving vast sums of money, but the risk of lost revenue for all potential players due to delay is significantly enhanced after this announcement.