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mar 24, 2017
Innovation and technology

Brazil leads global development of 5G technology

In October, the Brazilian telecommunications company Claro tested its 5G technology at the 2016 Futurecom conference. Developed in partnership with Swiss mobile broadband Internet developer Ericsson, 5G promises to take mobile Internet to the next level by incorporating the Internet of Things. This involves connecting phones to objects, such as cars or home appliances.

The companies used a frequency of 15 GHz divided into four 100 MHz carriers. The 15 GHz follows the European standard, while in America operators normally use frequencies of 28 GHz. Brazil, however, uses both frequencies. The national telecommunications agency (Anatel) is still deciding which frequency the new 5G technology will use, and what conditions it must meet in order to be officially considered a “fifth generation” of mobile broadband. The official launch of the 5G network is scheduled for 2020. 

Even after the technology is approved, however, there are hurdles in getting 5G to the public. In addition to corporate data limitations from phone operators, there is the issue of questionable connection stability and developing telecommunications infrastructure. Finally, the high price charged by Brazilian operators for 4G already limits who can access the highest level of connection. 

However, lead developers believe Brazil is at the head of the pack. 

“If you consider the development of LTE, Brazil’s development is on par with many European countries,” says José Otero, the Latin American director of 5G Americas. “The growth we’re seeing in Latin America is very similar to what’s going on in Europe.”

Brazil’s telecommunications minister, André Figueiredo, assures that Brazil is at the forefront of 5G technology.

“Brazil wants to invest in the future, and, like Japan and China, is part of the group of countries that will participate actively in developing 5G on a global scale,” said the minister during the 2016 Mobile World Congress. He further assured that the development of 5G technology would not hinder the ongoing improvements of 4G in the country. 

“The development of 5G is still in its early stages. But everything is evolving very fast. If we participate in this beginning stage of standardization, Brazil will no doubt contribute more to the adoption of this process,” said Figueiredo.

Furthermore, the minister argues that investment in the telecommunications sector will help the Brazilian economy get back on its feet. “The area of telecommunications is necessary for the economy to start developing again,” he said.