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India And Brazil’s Massive 5G Spectrum Auctions In 2020 Will Set Pricing Examples

While 5G networks start to roll out in advanced markets like South Korea, the US, the UK, and Germany, other countries’ telecoms are waiting for their chance to buy spectrum and get their own networks up and running.

Two key markets that will be moving on 5G in the next year are India and Brazil. News about their upcoming auctions and the network rollouts to follow is likely to have major implications for companies looking to do business related to those deployments, as well as for 5G activities in other markets.

Here’s what’s happening in Brazil and India:

  • Nokia expects Brazil’s 5G auction next year to be among the largest — if not the largest — spectrum sales ever, according to Reuters. Anatel, the Brazilian telecommunications regulator, is organizing the country’s first 5G spectrum auction, set for March 2020. Telecoms will bid on 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum, and Anatel is also considering adding the 700 MHz and 26 GHz bands to the auction. This means that all of Brazil’s 5G spectrum could be up for grabs at once, which Nokia Latin America CTO Wilson Cardoso told Reuters could make for the largest single 5G auction worldwide.
  • India’s 5G rollout won’t get underway for at least a year, according toAkhil Gupta, vice chairman of telecom Airtel’s parent company.The country’s regulatory bodies had hoped to have consumer networks fully up and running in early 2020, but its spectrum auction and trails have been delayed. Once it takes place, the auction could costbidders a total of more than $80 billion, which could be problematic given the sky-high debt levels of the country’s network operators and the recent losses for Vodafone Idea and Airtel.

The bigger picture: The auctions and subsequent network rollouts in Brazil and India will offer global telecoms guidance on spectrum pricing and practices, while also presenting an opportunity for companies to step in and profit from facilitating those deployments.

While many advanced markets have launched 5G networks, a number of others are still selling spectrum or — like France— have yet to begin. The India and Brazil auctions could help provide pricing levels to value midband spectrum in markets like the US and UK. And the auctions could serve as blueprints for telecoms and regulators in markets similar to Brazil and India, which view the countries as regional leaders.

Spectrum pricing has varied widely, with telecoms looking to minimize their outlays and regulators looking to maximize the funds they raise. Two complete, high-value auctions will help reduce confusion and haggling over spectrum pricing between the various parties.

But the capital that Brazilian and Indian telecoms are expected to spend on 5G spectrum will mean they’ll need to get their networks live quickly. In South Korea, SK Telecom’s experience has shown how network operators can benefit from actually deploying their 5G networks and getting customers up and running.

Rapid rollouts will be a potential goldmine for networking giants like Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia to tap, while also offering telecoms in 5G markets an opportunity to share their experiences via consulting or in exchange for roaming deals or other concessions.―Business Insider

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