TCU approves 5G advisory, auction could take place in October

TCU Approves 5G Notice for Frequency Auctions | Photo: Albari Rosa / Gazeta do Povo

The Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) concluded in session this Wednesday (25) the vote of the public notice of privatization and call for tenders on frequencies for the implementation of 5G in the country. The decision was favorable to the proposal of the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) by majority vote, with a 7×1 scoreboard. The only member of the court who voted against was Minister Aroldo Cedrás, who had asked to see the case in a previous session (the president, Minister Ana Arraes, does not vote).

Before the end of the votes last Wednesday (18), the rapporteur, Minister Raimundo Carreiro, had already presented his vote and was accompanied by six ministers, who did not change their position.

In the review presented at today’s session, Cedrás spoke of “distortions that would imply a huge potential risk of damage to the treasure” and presented a suggested decision with a series of determinations. In the analysis, the Examiner pointed out signs of irregularities, distortion of price calculations, systemic error in demand, among others. Still according to the minister, there would be “serious illegalities which cannot be preserved in the text” of the opinion, according to notes taken by the technical field of TCU.

In his report on the 5G notice, Carreiro had already recommended (among other points) the improvement of the tariff calculation. However, he rejected part of the indications made by the technicians, arguing that these were remedial and surmountable weaknesses and that they should be controlled by the Court through specific control actions. This was the case of maintaining in the public notice for the construction of the private network for the government and the installation of an optical fiber network in the Amazon region.

After last week’s request for an opinion, Communications Minister Fábio Faria said that “by October at the latest we will have the 5G public notice.” The forecast already took into account the time required by Minister Cedrás to return the document to Anatel, subsequent adjustments and publication.

The auction for the implementation of mobile networks in 5G technology is quite late compared to the deadline expected by the federal government, which was to be held in July. The proposal was approved by Anatel in February and has been under review by TCU since March. This delay was due precisely to the differences between the technical field of the court, the federal government and the regulatory agency. Despite the delay, the federal government has not changed its expectations and maintains the forecast for operations in capitals in mid-2022.

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