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LatAm Wrap Up: Brazil puts 700 MHz under discussion; Venezuela to evaluate 2.5 GHz for LTE

Brazil’s discussion over the use of the 700 MHz spectrum band for LTE services has a new chapter as last week the country’s regulatory body, Anatel, debated the use of the spectrum band. Currently, the 700 MHz band is used for broadcasting, but the transition from analog TV to digital TV will allow greater density in the range dedicated to broadcasting, freeing up more space for the provision of telecommunications services. Anatel has already stated that this spectrum band is “extremely important” to advancing LTE coverage in the country.

During public comments, Brazil’s minister of communications Paulo Bernardo, said that no television station will be out of the redistribution of channels following the digitalization and the bidding of the 700 MHz band. According to Bernardo, if necessary, there will be cities where a smaller piece of the spectrum will be offered.

Another topic of discussion was the requirement that communication service providers could pay the costs related to compensate broadcasters for “cleansing” of the 700 MHz band.

Known as digital dividend, the 700 MHz band is the target of many Latin American carriers who say that it will cost them less to deploy LTE in this band. Chile, Colombia and Mexico are moving forward with releasing 700 MHz spectrum for wireless telecom. A number of U.S. carriers are already using the 700 MHz band for LTE services, while Canada is set to auction spectrum in that band later this year.

Chile regulator Subtel has set technical rules for the use of the 700 MHz band. The formal declaration was the first milestone in the set of activities for launching a contest for the 700 MHz band, which will be allocated under the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) model.

Mexico’s Federal Commission of Telecommunications (Cofetel) voted to adopt the APT band plan for the 700 MHz band for mobile services.

As for Colombia, the National Spectrum Agency (ANE), said Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson were set to conduct tests in the band under the standard APT pipeline, using equipment developed by the leading manufacturers.

Industry trade association GSMA and AHCIET recently released a study noting the allocation of “digital dividend” spectrum in the 700 MHz band for deploying mobile services could contribute almost $15 billion to the Latin American economy and would expand mobile broadband coverage to nearly 93% of the population.

In Venezuela, government regulators are looking at clearing the 2.5 GHz spectrum band for LTE deployment. Telecom regulator Conatel is currently conducting a review and public consultation.

More Latin American news:

  • In a video interview with RCR Wireless News, Flavio Lang, CMO of TIM Fiber, explained the carrier’s investments made during 2012 and how the company is expanding its fiber optic network across São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

  • Brazil ended February with 93 million Internet broadband accesses, of which 72.7 million are mobile connections and 58.9 million were 3G connections. From 2012 to 2013, 3G coverage increased 20%, with 546 new municipalities being covered with 3G antennas. Vivo continued as the country’s largest wireless carrier.

Be sure not to miss what’s going on across Latin America’s wireless markets. Check out RCR Wireless News wrap ups.

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