Brasilia: Brazil has raised $ 8.4 billion in investment and license fees in an international tender to build and operate one of the world’s largest 5G data networks, said Friday the Minister of Communications Fabio Faria, hailing a “great success”.
The end result – 46.8 billion reais ($ 8.4 billion) – is slightly lower than the $ 9 billion forecast by the government.
But Faria was optimistic at the close of the two-day auction, telling a press conference that the result “exceeded all expectations.”
The winning bids went to companies such as Telecom Italia’s local subsidiary, Tim; the Brazilian unit of the Spanish group Telefonica; and Claro, owned by America Movil of Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim.
Six new entrants to the Brazilian market have also made winning offers and will now become mobile providers, which should increase competition and benefit consumers.
Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, seeks to take advantage of so-called fifth-generation mobile technology to accelerate the development of its industrial and agri-food sectors, as well as bring super-fast internet to the mobile phones of its 213 millions of inhabitants.
The tender, which attracted a total of 15 bidders, was for the right to construct and operate different “blocks” of the frequency spectrum for 20 years.
Brazil has also launched a tender for the development of a separate network that will be reserved for government communications.
The tender for the latter excluded all equipment from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, the target of US espionage accusations that had put Brazil at a standstill, forcing it to navigate a tumultuous technological standoff between Beijing. and Washington.
The two great world powers are also Brazil’s biggest trading partners, and the country has come under pressure from both sides over the ground rules for its 5G network.
This led him to postpone the tender for early 2021 as initially planned.
Despite the postponement, analysts agreed with Faria that the bidding process went well for Brazil.
“It was an absolute success,” said Marcos Ferrari of Conexis Brasil Digital, a group representing five of the bidding companies.
“There was a lot of market appetite,” he told AFP.
The tender was a win-win solution for established mobile operators and new entrants to the Brazilian market, said Eduardo Tude, director of consultancy firm Teleco.
“On the one hand, the current operators got the spectrum they will need to develop 5G with the necessary bandwidth. On the other hand, there was room for new players. This is a very positive development. “, did he declare.
Connected tractors, telemedicine
President Jair Bolsonaro called the tender “historic” on Thursday, as he opened the auction in Brasilia with a symbolic blow from the auctioneer’s hammer.
Brazil hopes 5G technology will open up new horizons for its economy, ranging from connected tractors and crop monitoring drones for the booming agricultural sector to self-driving cars and telemedicine to fill infrastructure gaps in the country. sprawling South American country.
“Consumers won’t see much of a difference other than faster download times for movies and videos. But from an industry perspective, it’s going to open up a whole new reality for factories, agro- industry, the productive sector, “said Ferrari.
Faria, the minister, said the deployment of 5G would have a “major impact” on Brazil’s economic growth over the next decade.
Winning companies will have to deploy the service in Brasilia and the 26 state capitals by August 2022.
Other cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants can expect service between 2025 and 2028.
The tender also included projects to extend and upgrade Internet access in remote areas, along highways and in public schools, in a country where 40 million people have no. still no access.