Local auction 

Brazil hosts long-awaited 5G spectrum auction, targeting $ 8 billion in investment


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3D printed objects depicting 5G are placed on a motherboard in this photo illustration taken on April 24, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration // File Photo

BRASILIA, Nov. 4 (Reuters) – Brazil will hold its biggest cellphone auction on Thursday, with local units from America Movil, Telefonica and Telecom Italia vying with a dozen other companies for dedicated broadcast spectrum. the fifth generation (5G) Wireless technology.

Telecom regulator Anatel, which will begin unsealing bids at 10 a.m. local time (1 p.m. GMT), hopes to secure a pledge from the winners to invest some 45 billion reais ($ 8 billion).

The long-awaited auction was delayed by differences over the involvement of Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd as a supplier of 5G telecommunications equipment, which the United States had urged the far-right government of Brazil to ban for security reasons.

After a compromise to protect government communications, Brazil tendered four broadcast bands: 700 megahertz (MHz), 2.3 gigahertz (GHz), 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz.

Industrial groups have long anticipated the possibility for Brazil to catch up on 5G technology allowing greater efficiency and automation in the fields of health to agro-industry. However, slow local licensing for new antennas across the country may slow the rollout of new wireless coverage.

Spain’s Telefonica SA (TEF.MC), which operates Brazil’s largest wireless operator under the Vivo brand (VIVT3.SA), will compete with the local Claro division of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim America Movil SAB de CV ( AMXL.MX), and the TIM Unit SA of Telecom Italia SpA .

Other bidders include an investment fund and a coalition of Internet service providers who have banded together to compete for spectrum.

The telecommunications infrastructure industry expects Brazil’s 5G networks to generate new business opportunities worth more than $ 1,000 billion over 15 years and create 1.5 million jobs in 4 years, said Vivien Suruagy, head of a federation of 137,000 companies.

Unlike other countries like Sweden, Brazil has not excluded Huawei from its coveted 5G market despite diplomatic pressure from the United States, citing espionage concerns.

Brazil’s major wireless carriers already use Huawei for more than half of their networks and have argued that banning Huawei would add billions of dollars in additional costs that would be passed on to consumers.

Instead, the government of President Jair Bolsonaro has decided to create a separate network for itself and for all federal agencies, from which Huawei will effectively be excluded. The government has stipulated that bidders must comply with the governance rules of listed companies, which Huawei does not do.

($ 1 = 5.5750 reais)

Report by Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; edited by Brad Haynes and Chizu Nomiyama

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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