China lockdowns and chip shortages could force Brazil to postpone 5G activation

Brazil could extend the deadline for the activation of the first commercial 5G networks in the 3.5GHz band until September 29 due to supply problems, national telecoms regulator Anatel said.

According to the bases of the 5G spectrum auction held last November, the first antennas in this band should be installed and working in all state capitals and in Brasilia by July 31.

The three winners of national licenses – Telefônica Brasil, Claro and TIM – would have to have activated at least one antenna for every 100,000 inhabitants in the capitals by that date.

However, the Gaispi group, which oversees the release of the frequency currently used by open satellite services, has asked Anatel for a 60-day extension.

Gaispi is made up of representatives from Anatel, the Ministry of Communications and the three winning telecommunications companies, as well as broadcasters and satellite operators.

According to the group, there would not be enough time to receive equipment to mitigate 5G interference with satellite services provided over the band.

Among the reasons for the delay cited by the group, according to Anatel, are the lockdowns in China and the shortage of semiconductors, as well as the limitations of air transport and the delay in clearances at customs.

In addition to requesting an extension of the term, Gaispi also asked the regulator to advance the release of the band in areas without risk of this type of interference.

Both requests must be voted on by Anatel’s board, but are unlikely to be rejected.