On this interview, Carlos Baigorri, who was appointed head of Brazilian telecommunications regulator Anatel final April – after the 5G public sale however earlier than the beginning of 5G community activations – talks about the primary matters on the company’s agenda, together with the challenges of creating a brand new fastened telephony concession engaging, the tempo of 5G rollout, infrastructure sharing controversies and the enlargement of personal networks, amongst different matters.
BNamericas: Of the primary objects on Anatel’s agenda for 2023-24 – the research for a brand new fastened telephony concession, the [general competition plan] PGMC and the [spectrum usage regulation] RUE – which might you spotlight as essentially the most delicate?
Baigorri: Probably the most urgent difficulty we see at Anatel is exactly that of fastened telephony concessions. These concessions are coming to an finish, the fastened telephony service is much less and fewer demanded by the inhabitants, so we have to give a path for that.
One other topic refers back to the poles [rules and prices for the use of the infrastructure by telecom operators], which is sort of sophisticated to discover a resolution for.
And a topic that was lacking from our tactical plan, and we’re contemplating together with it, is the struggle towards piracy. This continues to be a precedence difficulty for Anatel. Piracy could be very dangerous for Brazilian society. And within the telecom sector it’s very current, particularly after we’re speaking about pay TV.
BNamericas: The federal government stated it intends to redouble its consideration to essential telecom networks, resembling fiber backbones, submarine cables, datacenters, on account of acts of vandalism. Is Anatel taking part on this activity?
Baigorri: There’s a national policy for the safety of essential infrastructure. The coordination of this coverage is carried out by the GSI [institutional security office] and every sector has a accountable individual.
Within the telecom sector, Anatel is chargeable for this coverage. There’s a follow-up and monitoring group and a monitoring system. We have been doing this work for the reason that 2014 World Cup. Through the pandemic, we used this ecosystem to observe the affect of the networks, additionally when there have been the [mining] tragedies in Mariana and Brumadinho, the truck drivers’ strikes in 2017-2018, and many others.
We monitored all the pieces in the course of the January 8 attacks [in Brasília] and there have been no incidents. Not from the attitude of bodily infrastructure, of people taking down towers, nor by way of cyberattacks. There are at all times cyberattacks, however there was nothing out of the strange.
BNamericas: Was the federal government transition clean from the company’s standpoint?
Baigorri. It was. We’ve already been with [communications] minister Juscelino thrice. The agenda is effectively lined up [with the ministry]. We introduced an important matters, 5G, the problem of poles, concessions, and many others. We’re updating the minister.
BNamericas: Talking of the fastened telephony concession, would you say that legislation 13,879/2019 [which allowed the adaptation of fixed telephony concessions to a lighter model, called authorization, which permits investments in other telecom segments] was ineffective? Or do you continue to imagine that the concession-holders will select to hold out this migration earlier than 2025 and a brand new concession will subsequently not be mandatory?
Baigorri: I imagine so. We’re fairly assured. The variation course of started to be judged on the finish of final yr at [audit court] TCU. We await the conclusion of this. We imagine that there’s an curiosity, sure, in migration.
In fact, there’s the problem of arbitration in parallel. However we nonetheless imagine that adapting the regime from concession to authorization is the primary approach out, essentially the most helpful, on behalf of the general public curiosity.
[Editor’s note: Through this arbitration process, current fixed telephony concession-holders claim they are due compensation on the grounds that fixed telephony is no longer economically feasible, generating losses]
BNamericas: Within the meantime, Anatel has to work with plan B, which is corporations opting to not migrate their concessions and the company having to carry a brand new fastened telephony concession. How can a set telephony concession be made engaging to traders?
Baigorri: This course of continues to be preliminary, it’s nonetheless topic to public session. However what was reported [by the technical area] to [Anatel’s] board is redesigning the concession obligations to attempt to make them “lighter.” Exactly to attempt to make them engaging.
One other difficulty being contemplated is the design of geographic areas.
Present fastened telephony concessions cowl very giant areas in Brazil. You’ll hardly be capable of discover an investor who will wish to present providers alongside your complete Brazilian coast, for instance. So one of many potentialities could be to have smaller concession areas, with the intention to enhance the attractiveness and doubtlessly entice small providers which are already working with broadband.
BNamericas: Has there already been an preliminary strategy to the market to evaluate the potential curiosity in these new concessions? Has Anatel already been contacted by any firm on the topic?
Baigorri: We did not assess the market, nor have been we contacted.
That is one thing we anticipate to return with the ultimate approval of the discover [the terms of the new concession]. In fact, it’s at all times doable to check the water. However we have not reached this stage but.
Baigorri: This course of was analyzed by our technical space, it was submitted to the board of administrators [of Anatel]. Counselor Alexandre Freire is the rapporteur. It is a fairly advanced course of. We have to analyze it from a regulatory, aggressive perspective and in addition from the phrases of the discover [of the 5G auction]. I would not wish to anticipate something, as a result of I have not learn the information but.
We see many issues within the press, each towards and in favor. We at Anatel search to have a place, as an instance, that is extra orthodox and work on the report. We have to await the rapporteur’s proposal to debate what comes subsequent. Whether or not it’s to reject the settlement, to approve the settlement as it’s, or to approve it with amendments.
BNamericas: What’s the deadline for this?
Baigorri: The rapporteur obtained the method on the finish of final yr and has 120 days to current his vote. This era could also be prolonged for one more 120 days.
BNamericas: How is the demand for bands for personal networks within the 5G vary? Apparently, corporations’ urge for food for these licenses has been low.
Baigorri: There hasn’t actually been a lot demand for these bands.
However the demand for personal networks is one thing that has at all times existed. In 4G, in 3G. Nevertheless, as earlier than there was no particular band for personal community functions, those that wished to have one trusted operators. These corporations needed to depend on carriers, and sometimes, for various causes, they weren’t in a position to shut a contract. Our technique was, subsequently, to create another for individuals who desire a personal community [company license].
However what we’ve observed is that operators themselves, with the intention to monetize their 5G licenses, have been finishing up these tasks. So, in a approach, we managed to generate the impact we anticipated, which was that suppliers Vivo [Telefónica], Claro and TIM supplied personal networks in a approach that met the demand.
If that does not occur, if an organization cannot do it with an operator, it has the choice of utilizing the three.7-3.8GHz spectrum.
BNamericas: Can we anticipate the inclusion of latest bands for personal networks, along with all these already offered?
Baigorri: We’re at all times discussing this, together with in worldwide boards for spectrum standardization. This yr we’ll have the World Radiocommunication Convention, the place nations meet to harmonize using radiofrequency. Discussions for personal networks are more likely to seem there.
It is a pure course of. Not too long ago, the 450MHz band was authorized for such utilization.
What I can say is that there is certainly a requirement for personal networks. Now, in the event that they’re essentially going to be within the 3.7-3.8GHz vary, it relies upon quite a bit from venture to venture and on the operators’ curiosity in providing this sort of resolution.
BNamericas: Did the pace of activation of 5G by the operators shock you? What’s the 5G outlook for this yr?
Baigorri: We’re bringing ahead the timetable [for the clearance of the 3.5GHz band]. There was the intention to launch it for cities with greater than 500,000 inhabitants, however we selected to go additional and do it in clusters. That’s, additionally cowl conurbation localities within the metro areas of those cities.
Counselor Moisés [Moreira, responsible for the 3.5GHz process] intends to make the band out there effectively upfront. Nevertheless it’s vital to notice that that is solely a use authorization, the provision. Carriers carry ahead their launch [ahead of the auction deadlines] in the event that they wish to.
In any case, we see an urge for food on the a part of operators to take action. The pace is superb. They’d an infrastructure [antennas] implementation goal and in some cities this aim is 9x, 10x above that required. We see a really giant urge for food from operators to place themselves in 5G.
Our concern is that this urge for food does not occur in disrespect to the buyer. To this point, we have not seen any main issues, not least as a result of it is nonetheless a small portion of the inhabitants that has entry to 5G telephones.
BNamericas: In an more and more related world, should Anatel’s function, of regulating solely telecoms, change to additionally embody web, social networks? How is that this dialogue from the company’s standpoint?
Baigorri: We have undergone this large shift from a business and know-how perspective. Society calls for new issues from us. However any change in Anatel’s regulatory powers should come via a assessment of the overall telecommunications legislation.
I would say it is necessary to have a broad debate, partaking society, the federal government, the personal sector, academia. I see it as a broader dialogue, concerning the group of the State, effectively past the function of Anatel itself.
The telecommunications examine heart [Ceatel] employed in August final yr the College of Brasília to review the worldwide benchmark, the regulatory framework of this digital ecosystem, and current proposals on how the Brazilian State can perform within the face of this new actuality.
This course of is underway. The thought is that within the second half we may have some outcomes. Our expectation is to current it to the federal government, which is able to then resolve how one can transfer forward.