After more than two years of delays, Brazil’s Board of Directors of the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) approved the 5G auction notice. The auction will start with the receipt of documentation from interested parties on October 27, 2021, with the first session to open and analyze price proposals scheduled for November 4, 2021. Four frequencies will be auctioned, with the government projecting to raise R$ 10.6 billion in minimum payments, with a further R$ 39.1 billion expected to be invested by the winning bidders to comply with the auction’s obligations. The estimation is for the 5G network to be up and running in Brazil’s 26 capital cities and the Federal District by July 2022. For all cities in Brazil with more than 30,000 inhabitants, the deadline is July 2029. To protect networks from potential security threats, the government decided on two separate 5G networks—one for the government and another for private clients. Huawei will have access to the private sector network bidding.

Our View

The announcement of the 5G auction is good news that will benefit firms across different industrial segments in Brazil, solidifying the digital transformation accelerated during the pandemic. The 5G infrastructure investments will contribute significantly to the resumption of growth and economic development in the coming years, strengthening Brazil’s digital economy and creating gains in productivity and competitiveness in various industry segments. Overall, the auction notice encourages the participation of different players; we expect the process to involve large internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom infrastructure clusters, in addition to the three main mobile operators: Telefônica, Claro, and TIM.

Business Implications

Brazil’s 5G auction will present business opportunities both in the short term, through direct investment in telecommunications infrastructure, and in the long term, through productivity gains. Initially, benefits should be concentrated for B2B firms, as few consumer devices are compatible with the new technology, especially at low costs. Firms should closely follow the auction developments, as well as any additional federal measures that would seek to simplify the procedures for the implementation of telecommunications network infrastructure to promote the expansion of coverage and quality.

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