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Brazil to certify femtocells, vote on new antenna law, prepare for 700 MHz auction

Aiming to evolve telecommunication services in Brazil, minister of communications Paulo Bernardo, told members of the press that some important measures might be taken in upcoming months, such as voting on antenna regulation, certifying femtocells and auctioning 700 MHz spectrum bands.

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Bernardo said the new antenna regulation is expected to come to a vote in the Senate soon. “Our antenna legislation is restrictive and a barrier to connectivity expansion,” the minister said during the recent Ericsson Business Innovation Forum in São Paulo. “In one of the largest cities of Brazil, there is a municipal law that forbids installing antennas near schools. How can we connect schools without installing antennas?”

Bernardo said that Anatel, the country’s telecom regulator, will likely certify femtocells in December. “I talked to João Rezende, Anatel’s president, and he told me Anatel might regulate femtocells this year for private and domestic use,” he said.  The minister explained that the goal is to reduce taxes on femtocells to about 50 cents.

As for others small cells, Bernardo noted that Anatel councilmember Jarbas Valente is working on that issue with aa goal of bringing the subject before the agency for discussion in December.

Bernardo also confirmed that the much anticipated 700 MHz spectrum auction would happen sometime during the second half of 2013. Today, 700 MHz spectrum is allocated for analog television. The minister said he has already discussed revising the digital TV deployment plan with the President Dilma Rousseff. The initial government plan was to turn off all analog TV by 2016.

“In re-evaluating the schedule, we are considering turning off [all analog TV] by 2015 or even 2014, because to do all in once could be a problem,” he said.

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