Brazil is getting ready to auction off spectrum suitable for LTE services, a move that could encourage rollout of the technology in the Latin American region as a whole.
Brazil will ″catapult LTE, because they need it,″ Erasmo Rojas, director of Latin America and Caribbean at 4G Americas, told Total Telecom on Wednesday.
″There is a big auction coming in May,″ through which the country will sell 140 MHz of spectrum in the 2.6-GHz band, Rojas said. There will be three 2x20-MHz nationwide licences available, and one 2x10-MHz licence. At the same time the country will allocate spectrum in the 450-MHz band for rural coverage.
″Whoever wants the cream [of high-value urban LTE]... also has to cover the rural networks,″ said Rojas, explaining that winners of 2.6-GHz spectrum will also have to offer rural services at 450 MHz.
″Whoever wins [also] has to factor in some local production,″ he added. Winners will be required to source hardware in Brazil, where available.
The regulator's public consultation into the allocation process is due to end on Friday, with rules to be published in mid-April so the auction can take place the following month.
″The network has to be ready,″ by the end of 2013, Rojas said, in time for the football World Cup in summer 2014.
There are already a number of LTE services in Latin America.
″The operators have been trialling LTE for two years... [and as of end-2011] we have five commercial networks,″ Rojas said. There are two LTE networks in Puerto Rico, one in Uruguay and one in Colombia, plus a network based on the TDD variant of LTE in Brazil, he said.
″There will be other [spectrum] auctions this year,″ Rojas predicted.