According to reports in the Brazilian press, Telefonica, which owns the Vivo brand, is to join Claro and TIM in bringing 5G to Brazil.
The company plans to activate 5G from 24 July in eight cities: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Goiania, Curitiba and Porto Alegre.
This initiative puts Telefonica third among Brazilian operators announcing 5G rollout but first in terms of coverage area. Claro recently brought 5G to market but only to parts of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. More areas will follow by the end of September.
According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate TIM Brasil will switch on 5G in September in Bento Goncalves, Itajuba and Tres Lagoas.
The launches have more in common than just 5G: they are not using auctioned spectrum reserved for 5G – not too surprising given that there’s no precise date for the Brazilian 5G spectrum auction yet.
Thus the operators will use dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology, which enables them to repurpose 4G frequency bands. Telefonica reportedly plans to adapt 2600 MHz, 1800 MHz and 700 MHz – bands currently used for 4G – for its 5G service.
When the auction actually happens, the specific bands offered for 5G will be intended for countrywide coverage. The auction was scheduled for 2020 but was postponed until an unspecified date in 2021.
The equipment used for Telefonica’s 5G service is, of course, already installed and was supplied by Ericsson and Huawei. As for the expansion of 5G coverage after the auction, which will require more equipment, there is no definite news about who the suppliers will be.
Maintaining existing suppliers may not be an option if Huawei faces restrictions after pressure from the US on a number of governments to limit Huawei’s involvement in 5G rollout.