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Brazil to regulate femtocell use

Brazil has not yet adopted a regulation for the use of femtocells across the country, but both the minister of communications, Paulo Bernardo, and the president of telecom regulator Anatel, João Rezende, have recognized the importance of small cells to improve telecommunications services.

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The proposal to regulate the use of femtocells is in the course of being evaluated by the technical area of Anatel. A vote is expected this year. “We know this is a sensitive topic. But these cells need to be certified and approved in Anatel,” Rezende noted.

Bernardo favors tax breaks for femtocells. “We have to promote incentives for the use of femtocells,” he said, adding that this type of equipment should have tax breaks in order to become cheaper. On the other hand, Rezende said that taxes charged on femtocells are being evaluated, since they are characterized as networks so they should have the same taxes.

Rezende also noted that telecom operators should be responsible for the installation and maintenance of femtocells. He voiced some worries about the possibility of the sale reaching the final consumer.

Rules for using these antennas might also extend to other small cells. “It is our priority to approve that regulation, but we have to take the necessary precautions, such as possible interferences. We cannot let that happen, because it can lower the quality of service,” Rezende added during last week’s Embratel event to launch its data center in São Paulo.

Minister Bernardo has also made comments on the antenna sharing project. There is a project law in course and, according to him, it might be voted on this year. “The ministry has asked the Senate to speed this up. Sharing infrastructure is the most reasonable thing to do, and it also improves relations with cities,” he said.

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