Saturday, December 4

Brazil advances in 5G tender with expectations of investments of USD 9,000 million

Brazil advanced this Thursday in the tender for the 5G network, the largest in its history in the telecommunications sector, with 15 participating companies and the expectation of attracting investments of about 9,000 million dollars.

On the first day of the opening of envelopes and analysis of the proposals in competition, the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) awarded the most juicy frequencies to the main players in the sector.

Until 5:30 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. GMT), the total of the bid awards exceeded 6,085 million reais (about 1,100 million dollars), according to AFP calculations based on Anatel announcements.

The government estimates that this tender, considered by specialists one of the largest in the world, should reach almost 50,000 million reais (equivalent to about 9,000 million dollars) between investments in infrastructure and concessions in four subdivided blocks.

Among the winners, Claro (a subsidiary of Mexico’s América Móvil), Telefónica Brasil (owner of the Vivo brand and a subsidiary of the Spanish group) and Tim (a Brazilian subsidiary of Telecom Italia), were distributed nationwide licenses in the main block for the 3.5 GHz operation.

The main economy of the region, with 213 million inhabitants, aspires with the new network to promote economic growth, with greater efficiency for different productive sectors, and connection for more Brazilians, educational institutions and even highways.

This tender process, which could last until Friday, includes a parallel network for the exclusive use of the government, in which equipment from the Chinese company Huawei may not be used, which was excluded by the terms of the call amid a geopolitical dispute over espionage allegations, especially by the United States.

The definitions for the assembly of the new network began in the morning with a symbolic hammer from President Jair Bolsonaro at an event in Brasilia, where he highlighted the “historic” advance in the country’s connectivity.

The Minister of Communications, Fábio Faria, stressed that Brazil will be the first country in Latin America to have 5G. And he projected that “it will become an innovation hub” to attract investment and export technology.

Among the 15 companies that submitted proposals, five already offered telecommunications services in the country. The other ten are smaller firms, especially fiber optic broadband services.

One of the new providers will be Winity II Telecom, the first winner of the day, who promised to develop the 4G network on highways and in lagging cities in the country, where appropriate.

The official estimate foresees some 39 billion reais (about 7 billion dollars) of investments in infrastructure, including equipment and transmission towers. According to experts, 5G requires between four and ten times more antennas than the current 4G.

Additionally, the government expects to collect some 3 billion reais (about 545 million dollars) for the use of the frequencies and another 7 billion reais (about 1.27 billion dollars) for the connectivity of public schools.

According to Faría, the implementation of 5G could mean a growth of 10% only for agriculture, a sector with the potential to boost GDP by 2.5% in the next decade.

This network will make it possible to connect devices to each other and to the cloud, with immediate response times, enabling, for example, the development of smart cities, autonomous vehicles or remote surgeries.

At the same time, Brazil will seek to include 40 million people without connection and compensate for the lag in connectivity in less developed areas, such as some areas of the Amazon.

“I visited indigenous communities and what did they ask for? They asked for the internet. (…) It is not only the indigenous, there are almost 10,000 small towns that do not have internet and are going to have it,” Bolsonaro said.

Although the tender was months late and the country is behind in relation to others in Europe and Asia, the arrival of the new technology to the Federal District and the 26 state capitals is scheduled for before July 31, 2022.

In the rest of cities, with populations greater than 30,000 inhabitants, 5G will arrive between 2025 and 2028.