Information current as of 10 May 2019

What is the state of 5G deployment in Brazil?

5G is not available in Brazil and, to date there is no expected roll‑out date. There are some specific barriers to 5G roll out in Brazil. The main one is that the 3.5 GHz band, considered ideal for 5G, only has 200 MHz of free bandwidth. The rest is in use for satellite communications and other applications. In order for an operator to make 5G work properly, it needs at least 100 MHz of bandwidth. Another barrier is the high rate of government taxation charged in the sector. This may delay the development of 5G technology in Brazil.

Which telecoms and communications players are launching 5G services?

As of yet it is not known which players will launch 5G services in Brazil. Four companies in Brazil are authorised to provide telecommunication services. The Telecom regulator (Anatel) explained that it would only have capacity for two companies to be able to operate normally with 5G. It is possible that making one batch of 80 MHz and two 60 MHz bandwidths will facilitate 5G for one more company. Alternatively, four batches of 50 MHz could be rolled, enabling all companies could provide an equal but weaker bandwidth, but this is not ideal.

Are there any public tenders for spectrum licences?

At present, there are no public tenders for spectrum licences in Brazil. Anatel’s suggests doing a set frequency auction for 5G, and other competitions for 4G. Companies bidding for enter 2.3 Ghz would be consolidating their operations in 4G or 4.5G. Candidates for 3.5 Ghz would be looking to consolidate their operations in 5G.

Has there been any comment on when there might be?

Anatel is currently planning for the 5G auction of frequencies in the 3.5 GHz and the 2.3 GHz bands to take place in March 2020. 200 MHz are to be offered in the 3.5 GHz band and 100 MHz in the 2.3 GHz band. The current format envisages that all four major carriers to participate, whereby each operator would get between 50 – 80 Mhz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz frequency. This is significantly less than the 100 MHz that is deemed necessary by the telecom industry as the minimum for proper use of 5G. Bidding proposals may start as soon as the second half of 2019.

What has the government said regarding spectrum licences for commercial use?

The government has not yet made announcements about spectrum licences for commercial use.

Are the rules for 5G already drafted, and if so, what do they say?

The rules for 5G are not drafted yet.


Picture of Ted Rhodes
Ted Rhodes
Office Managing Partner