US telecoms giant AT&T Inc. is considering bidding for LTE-suitable 700MHz frequencies in Brazil’s planned spectrum auction, local newspaper O Globo has reported. AT&T – which already owns a majority stake in prominent local satellite TV operator Sky Brasil, via its DirecTV pay-TV unit – has previously been linked with an approach for financially-stricken telco Oi. The development follows news that the National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel) is set to stage a tender for previously unsold 700MHz spectrum in the second half of 2018. The spectrum will be available to new or existing operators, Anatel president Juarez Quadros revealed last week.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Anatel initially auctioned the 700MHz band in September 2014, generating a total of BRL5.85 billion (USD2.39 billion) – well below its BRL7.71 billion target. While Vivo, TIM Brasil and Claro all picked up nationwide spectrum blocks, Oi did not participate in the auction. Likewise, regional operator Algar Telecom acquired spectrum within its own footprint, but Sercomtel opted not to. Another concession – nationwide barring the Algar/Sercomtel operating regions – also went unsold.