AT&T is considering a push into Brazil’s mobile market by obtaining some of the 700MHz spectrum that the country’s regulator Anatel is auctioning in the second half of this year.
Previous auctions held by the regulator saw the 700MHz spectrum, earmarked for 4G services, go unsold. Obtaining it would be an interesting move for AT&T, as the operator has the option of acquiring a stake in an existing operator or launching an MVNO via its majority holding in Sky Brazil.
The Brazilian market already has four major established operators with large user bases. Telefonica’s Vivo leads the market with 75 million connections, followed by America Movil’s Claro and Telecom Italia’s TIM Brasil, which both have 60 million. Although it lost 3 million connections last year, beleaguered operator Oi still has a base of 39 million connections, and there are several smaller operators and MVNOs active in the market.
However, AT&T has a strong presence in Latin America via its holding in Sky Brazil, which would allow it to offer bundled services to its existing customers. In addition to Brazil, AT&T offers pay-TV services in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. It also has a mobile operation in Mexico and provides enterprise services across Latin America.
AT&T has previously been linked to Oi, with reports in 2015 and 2016 suggesting that the operators were holding preliminary talks over a merger. However, these discussions seemingly bore no fruit, with Oi filing for bankruptcy protection before reaching an agreement with two of its biggest creditors in December 2017.