U.S. considers financing for Brazilian telcos not selecting Chinese gear

 

The U.S. government is considering the possibility of providing financing for the deployment of 5G in Brazil to those carriers not selecting Chinese vendors, Reuters reported, citing the U.S Ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman.

The funding would come from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), a government agency that provides financing for private development projects, the diplomat said.

Chapman said that Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung are vendors that have provided “appropriate” 5G technology that adequately protects information, data flows and intellectual property.

Brazilian carriers have already tested its 5G technology and built significant parts of their backbone infrastructure using equipment from Chinese vendors, according to the report.

Huawei has successfully conducted 5G tests with major carriers including Telefonica Brasil, TIM Participacoes, America Movil’s Claro and Oi.

The U.S government had been urging governments worldwide not to approve the use of Huawei’s equipment in 5G networks over spying concerns.

“We are simply alerting our friends and allies in Brazil that we have those concerns shared by many countries around the world that such technology is not the way to go,” Chapman said.

In March, a document issued by Brazil’s institutional security office (GSI), had indicated that Huawei would be given the green light to provide its 5G equipment to local carriers in Brazil.

However, a final decision is yet to be made by President Jair Bolsonaro, based on considerations provided by other public bodies. Bolsonaro has said that this decision cannot be solely “technical”. The Brazilian government said that it  would consider security and foreign policy alongside economic factors when developing its 5G strategy.

Brazilian telecommunications regulator Anatel expects to hold an auction to award 5G spectrum by the end of 2020 or in the first months of next year. Even before COVID-19, the 5G spectrum auction schedule had been postponed from its initial March 2020 date, given the need to further investigate interference with other signals.

Late in March, Anatel indefinitely halted field tests for the 3.5 GHz frequency.

Anatel had previously confirmed that it would award spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands.

Brazil is proving to be a popular destination for 5G equipment vendors. Both Ericsson and Nokia have demonstrated significant interest in the South American country, with the former announcing plans to invest $238.3 million to install a new assembly line for 5G the country, and the latter hoping to attract opportunities in the market with the future auction of 5G spectrum. In fact, in a previous interview with Reuters, Nokia’s CTO in Latin America Wilson Cardoso, called Brazil’s 5G spectrum auction “the world’s biggest-ever.”

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