Examining Anatel’s Decision to Release the 6 GHz Frequency Band
Ericson Scorsim. Lawyer and Consultant in Regulatory Communications Law. Ph.D. in Law from the University of São Paulo (USP). Author of the book “Jogo geopolítico entre Estados Unidos e China no 5G: impacto no Brasil.” (The Geopolitical Game between the United States and China regarding 5G: Impact on Brazil.) Author of the Communications Law Ebook Collection, published on Amazon.
Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (“Anatel”) has decided to allow the 6GHZ frequency band (5,925 to 7,125 MHz) to be used for wi-fi and wi-6E services.
The decision defined the technical requirements for the conformity assessment of restricted radiation radiocommunication equipment.
Anatel’s decision is in line with the Federal Communications Commission of the United States’ position in allowing the use of the 6Ghz band without the need to license frequencies. Anatel acted preemptively to the international regulation to be defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
According to Anatel’s decision: “there is no expectation at ITU to discuss the use of the 6.425-7.025 GHz band for mobile service in the Americas, but only in Europe. And, according to Anatel, the release of the 6GHZ frequency band “does not prevent its future use also for the fifth generation of mobile service (5G), as there are initiatives aimed at unlicensed 5G (5G NR-U).
Thus, the limits of low-power indoor equipment were set to avoid interference between other frequency bands. The decision also analyzed the coexistence of very low power devices with intelligent transportation systems (ITS), the technology for autonomous vehicle traffic management. Furthermore, Anatel also verified mechanisms for automatic frequency coordination. According to Anatel’s decision, in the vote of Councilor Carlos Manuel Baigorri: “… the USA hosts several companies that manufacture equipment and, due to the geographical proximity and because it is a common tourist destination, importing American equipment is usually less expensive and more straightforward. Thus, even if Brazil chooses only to allow unlicensed use of the lower portion of the band, preventing the entry and use of wi-fi 6e equipment would prove quite tricky, especially given the promise of delivering better conditions to consumers, which would inevitably lead to countless cases of interference to a mobile network operating in the higher band.
Wi-fi industry entities praised Anatel’s decision as a case of Brazil leading the world on the issue of regulating the 6GHz frequency band. There is already 6Ghz equipment ready for sale. Manufacturers of this equipment have been waiting for a final decision from Anatel on the issue to arrange their sales in Brazil. In fact, there is tremendous economic potential with the release of 6GHz for wi-fi. This technology improves connectivity in closed spaces (called indoor). This enables data traffic flow from fixed and mobile internet networks to smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.
There are market opportunities in wi-fi. Companies specialized in providing wi-fi technology to shopping malls, stores, hospitals, clinics, parking lots, airports, public spaces, soccer stadiums, etc. There are opportunities for software companies focused on the automatic allocation of spectrum frequencies. There are also opportunities for companies that manufacture 6GHz network equipment, as well as devices. There is a lot of potential in the Internet of Things (IoT) segment, that is, in machine-to-machine communications. Therefore, windows of opportunity open up for companies manufacturing sensors in various applications: precision agriculture, biomedical devices, Industry 4.0, and logistics, among others.
Furthermore, the big techs have a particular interest in this theme. Facebook has virtual reality and augmented reality projects connecting virtual glasses and smartphones. Apple has smartwatch designs with health applications. Amazon has programs to robotize its logistics centers. With 6GHz technologies, medical examinations with data-intensive images will be transmitted more quickly from one point to another.
In summary, with this decision on the 6Ghz frequency band, Anatel contributes to the innovation environment and the legal security required for investments in new business models that use the radio spectrum and related to connectivity in various economic sectors. 6G technology is a big bet for virtual and augmented reality, holography, and robotics services. Therefore, it is directly associated with the development of artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing systems. Vast amounts of data from equipment and sensors are collected, processed, stored, and transferred. That is why there are concerns about how much risk there is to the cybersecurity of 6 GHz networks, especially when it comes to protecting users’ personal and non-personal data. Thus, encryption protocols must be strengthened to protect users’ privacy. This is possibly going to be the next point of attention on the 6Ghz topic.
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