TCU’s deliberation on the 5G call for tenders will be resumed within a week, after the request for an opinion. Photo: Marcelo Andrade / Gazeta do Povo
An inspection request made by Minister Aroldo Cedrás of the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) prevented the vote on the privatization and tender process for 5G, which was discussed during a extraordinary session of the Court this Wednesday (18). The agenda was called exclusively for the consideration of the convocation. The deadline for returning the theme was thirty days, but it was ultimately reduced to one week.
In defending his claim, Cedrás spoke of “serious illegalities [apontadas pela área técnica] which cannot be kept in the text “and that the court cannot be accused of delaying the auction. By that time, seven of the nine ministers had already formalized a vote with the rapporteur, Minister Raimundo Carreiro – the president, Minister Ana Arraes, do not vote.
Carreiro rejected, in his report, the indications of the technical field of the Court for the exclusion of two obligations of the opinion: the construction of a private network for the federal government and the installation of the river optical fiber in the Amazon region, for the Integrated and Sustainable Amazon Program (Parents), with costs estimated at R $ 2.5 billion.
The understanding of technicians is the existence of several illegalities. Among others, the indications are the absence of relation to the object of the event, the risks due to the non-existence of a specific project, the uncertainties concerning the donation after the federal government and the possible damage to the treasury. However, the rapporteur gave priority to the federal government which, as formulator of the proposal, underlined that these were remedial and surmountable weaknesses. Carreiro recommended specific control actions for monitoring by the TCU.
The rapporteur minister also made several suggestions and recommendations. Carreiro indicated the inclusion of the connectivity obligation of Brazilian public schools as a commitment to be established in the 5G tender notice, the anticipation of investments and schedule adjustments in the 3.5 GHz band. in order to avoid increasing regional inequalities. The concern indicated concerns the smaller cities, covered by regional objectives, and which are at the end of the deadlines, for the arrival of 5G, from 2026 to 2030.
Carreiro also recommended that Anatel improve pricing and regulate secondary spectrum use standards in its own regulations. The objective is to avoid legal uncertainty and the risks of judicialization of the opinion. Now the subject will be discussed again in a week, so next Wednesday (25).
The auction for the implementation of mobile networks in 5G technology is behind the deadline expected by the federal government, which was certainly expected to be completed in July. The proposal was approved by the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) in February and has been under review by the TCU since March. The delay was due to discrepancies between the technical area of the tribunal, the federal government and Anatel. However, initial expectations have not changed and point to operations in capitals in mid-2022.
According to the notice, the call for tenders will be divided into 16 national and regional lots, with a concession period of 20 years. The auction values, calculated by Anatel, are 45.6 billion reais: 80% of investment commitments and 20% of the minimum price of concessions, collected by the Treasury.