The operators TIM and Hey lost their licenses to operate mobile services on the 450 MHz frequency. The track had been auctioned in 2012 during the 4G and had the objective of taking broadband to rural environments, but the telecoms did not use the spectrum and it was returned to the Anatel.
The 450 MHz band had potential for rural coverage: as it is a low frequency, there is greater signal penetration and operators would need fewer antennas to cover larger areas. The obstacle is that the frequency was not used on a large scale in the world by other operators, which made it difficult to have network equipment and compatible devices.
The 4G auction notice established spectrum waiver after 36 months if the service was not activated. Even without 450 MHz, other rural coverage obligations were maintained — in this case, operators use satellite solutions to bring voice and data services to these areas.
Operators did not want to buy 450 MHz
At the 2012 auction, Anatel tried to sell lots in the pure 450 MHz band, but there were no interested parties. For this reason, the other lots of the 2.6 GHz frequency — the main 4G spectrum at the time — were linked to the license with rural coverage obligations.
At the same time, operators did not want to give back spectrum, even without using it: frequency could be strategic in the future if the technology matures. Claro, for example, claimed to use the 450 MHz on more than 200 antennas just to keep the license.
With no operators occupying the spectrum, small providers and other communication companies keep an eye on the 450 MHz band, especially for industrial use and the creation of private 4G networks or 5G. As the licenses were returned, Anatel will be able to grant them again in a new bid.
With information: teletime, telesynthesis