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4G in the 700 MHz band: what benefits will Brazilian society have?

With 4G technology installed in the 700 MHz band, the service will technically improve in several aspects.

Anatel will publish on Friday (02) a public consultation on the auction of the 700 MHz band, which should take place in August this year. The public consultation will contain, among other topics, rules for the procedure called spectrum cleaning, which consists of removing analog TVs that currently use the aforementioned range. Such a process will require massive investments on the part of TVs and mobile phone operators and it is thought that it will be managed by an entity to be created that will control the resources nationwide.

Currently, 4G installed in Brazil in the main capitals occupies the 2.5 GHz band, whose coverage demands more towers and antennas for signal coverage. With 4G technology installed in the 700 MHz band, the service will technically improve in several aspects. There will be a greater range of devices for consumers, given that the main smartphone manufacturers in the Asian market already use 4G in this range. For mobile operators, there will be great savings, as they will be able to expand coverage using less infrastructure (towers, antennas, backbone and backhaul).

Reconciling public and private interests is the challenge that is proposed to the Federal Government, since internet access is an important tool for development and social inclusion. In the wake of the discussion there are others interested in the no less important range. I refer to the Brazilian Army and the Public Security Secretariat, 4G technology being an important ally in fighting crime.

In the communities of the city of Rio de Janeiro, for example, the intelligence aggregated with the use of video cameras, voice and data communication, supported by 4G networks, enable the Army and public security to respond more quickly and accurately to hostile actions by the most several criminal groups that can take advantage of the visibility of the World Cup, for example.

Finally, 4G technology can also be used for the defense, monitoring of borders and custody of strategic assets of the State (electricity generating plants, water sources, telecommunications centers) whose mere interruption of service can cause serious damage to Brazilian society.

Finally, 4G is a powerful intelligence tool for public security in general, due to the fact that it can transmit images in real time in high definition. This fact prevents criminal action, facilitates the routine of ostensive policing, even facilitates the work of justice in the elucidation of crimes allowing the State to be one step ahead of crime.

According to resolution 625, which allocated the 700 MHz band to LTE – Long Term Evolution -, applications destined for public security, defense and infrastructure will have at least approximately 5 MHz of bandwidth (upload and download), such band being insufficient for the large centers – where the spectrum band is most needed – the ideal being around 10 MHz of dedicated band in capitals and large urban centers.
There are projects, still in the embryonic phase of operation in a condominium (Army, public security, health, etc.), in a state-owned network. Truth be told, Brazil still has a lot to mature in the field of public security and defense that are not high on the Federal Government’s agenda, given the country’s alarming crime rates.

Will spending less on infrastructure the price of 4G packages will fall and the service will be offered in prepaid mode? And will smartphone prices fall with a larger scale of consumers? Recently the English media (The Economist) reported that the most expensive model of smartphone in Brazil costs 1,000 pounds, the equivalent of four thousand reais! As a Brazilian, I expect the government to closely monitor the operators’ investments in order to ensure more effectiveness and quality to the consumer of mobile phone services, guaranteeing the defense and public security a sufficient amount of spectrum for their activities.

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