Brazilian regulator Anatel says the country’s long-delayed 5G spectrum auction will take place at the start of November

On Friday, Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel announced that the country’s upcoming 5G spectrum auction is set to begin on November 4.
Based on the reserve prices, the regulator expects the auction to raise something in the vicinity of 45 billion reais ($8.5 billion).
A variety of spectrum will be available during the auction, with Anatel choosing to auction spectrum in each of the 700MHz, 2.3GHz, 3.5GHz and 26GHz bands in the same tender process, rather than as separate auctions, as has been seen in other markets.
Up till now, Brazil’s 5G auction process has been problematic to say the least. Initially approved back in March 2019, various regulatory conflicts as well as the coronavirus had seen the process delayed time and time again, most recently from August to October and now, it seems, to November. 
Part of the debate here has been the considerable obligations that winners of the auction will face, which include the launch of standalone 5G networks in state capitals by summer 2022, placing fibre into the Amazon riverbed to support the poorly served rural regions, and building 4G infrastructure alongside major roadways. 
In total, winning bidders will be required to invest around 40 billion reais ($7.48 billion) combined in deploying 5G technology throughout the country.
There has also been conflict regarding pricing. The Federal Court of Accounts (Tribunal de Contas da Uniao, TCU) noted during their approval of the auction’s conditions that reserve prices could be too low, urging Anatel to increase the reserve prices. This, in turn, raised questions around the spectrum’s affordability for smaller or regional players.
Regardless, 5G has been a long time coming for Brazil and the government will surely be pleased to see this process finished and rollouts underway before the end of the year. 
In a recent tweet, the Brazilian Minister of Communications Fábio Faria noted that TIM had already confirmed it would take part in the auction, saying that the auction would create a “new Brazil”.

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