Brasilia, Jul 6 (EFE).- Brasilia on Wednesday became the first city in Brazil to receive 5G services, a technology that, for the moment, will be available to only a few people but which in the coming months will be expanded to the country’s other 26 regional capitals.
Licenses to operate telecommunications and Internet services with 5G technology in Brazil were auctioned last December and the bulk of the concessions were provided to Telefonica subsidiary Vivo, along with Claro and TIM, which for decades have been the three largest operators in the South American giant.
The investment commitments total 46.7 billion reais (about $9.34 billion) over the first five years, a period during which calculations are that 5G technology will become available in all Brazilian cities of over 30,000 residents, and where high-capacity fiber optic networks will also be installed.
According to the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel), after the start of services in Brasilia, the 5G networks will gradually become available by October in all other 26 regional capitals.
Although the dates still have not been finalized, the next cities slated to receive 5G technology are Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo, according to the schedule worked out by the regulatory agency.
Communications Minister Fabri Faria hailed the start of 5G operations in the capital as “an historic moment,” adding that “the future has arrived” and reaffirming that the goal is for Brazil “to be 100 percent connected” in the shortest possible time.
In the case of Brasilia, the city has some six million cellphone lines, almost double the number of its residents, but according to telecommunications sector experts’ calculations just 20 percent of the devices in use are capable of operating at the 5G level.
According to Anatel, this technology will function only with cellphones of the latest generation, which in Brazil have been on the market for only a little over a year and which currently number 67 different models.
The base price of these devices is about 1,800 reais ($360), a sum that currently amounts to almost 70 percent of the minimum monthly wage.
In fact, the 5G service that began operating in Brasilia is available in only a little over half the city and is concentrated in the most well-to-do neighborhoods of the capital, where in recent months more than 100 new cellphone towers have been installed, to be followed by another 70 or so before yearend.