Good news for 5G as government cuts antenna red tape

. Sep 02, 2020
Good news for 5G as government cuts antenna red tape Photo: M-SUR/Shutterstock

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Today, we break down Brazil’s Q2 GDP results. Some positive news that makes 5G technology closer to reality. Bolsonaro makes anti-vax a state policy. And Brazil’s lack of readiness for the General Data Protection Law.

Bolsonaro removes major 5G bottleneck

President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree on Tuesday facilitating the installation of new antennas in Brazil.

Telecommunications companies no longer need to pay municipal administrations for the right to install their equipment on right-of-ways, public thoroughfares, and other public spaces. Moreover, it speeds up licensing processes for new antennas.</p> <ul><li>A 2015 bill established that cities must assess requests for antenna installations within 60 days, but as our <a href="">August 28 Tech Roundup</a> showed, this process can drag on for up to a year in major urban centers, such as the city of São Paulo. Now, a lack of response from regulators will constitute tacit approval.</li><li>Earlier this year, Marcos Ferrari, president of the National Union of Telephone and Cellphone Service Companies (SindiTelebrasil), told <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong> that &#8220;there are more or less 4,000 license applications for new antennas stalled so far.&#8221;</li></ul> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> Brazil currently has roughly 100,000 antennas, but it would need to double this number in the next four years to enable the use of 5G technology.</p> <p><strong>Investments ahead of 5G.</strong> Brazil’s Deputy Telecoms Secretary Artur Coimbra estimates that the new regulations could generate up to BRL 3 billion in investments within a year.</p> <p><strong>Yes, but … </strong>There are other <a href="">sticking points for 5G in Brazil</a>, such as whether or not the government will ban Chinese manufacturer Huawei from the upcoming 5G auction. </p> <ul><li>Sector representatives are also lobbying for tax cuts, specifically for the SIM cards used in cell phone handsets. According to Marcos Ferrari, the average annual revenue of each card is BRL 12 (USD 2.22), while the tax cost is around BRL 15.</li></ul> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Brazil is officially in recessive territory</h2> <p>With a 9.7-percent drop in Q2 GDP (the worst quarterly result ever recorded), the Brazilian economy has entered a technical recession. The results were not surprising, even if they were slightly worse than market expectations. However, analysts heard by <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong> saw some silver linings in the economy&#8217;s performance: they believe Q2 was rock bottom, and that the country may already be (slowly) embarking on a path to recovery.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2652850" data-url="" aria-label="Visualise individual series and their total"><script src=""></script></div> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/3634900"><script src=""></script></div> <p><strong>Reasons for concern.</strong> The Brazilian economy has returned to Q3 2009 levels — meaning an entire decade worth of growth was scrapped in a matter of months. While the pandemic hit the global economy like a wrecking ball, it also shows how sluggish the Brazilian economy has been in recent years.</p> <ul><li><strong>Industrial sectors</strong> were hit the hardest, with output dropping an eye-watering 12.3 percent — the worst ever on record.</li><li><strong>Family consumption</strong>, which represents no less than 65 percent of the Brazilian GDP, also had a record-setting drop of 12.5 percent. The results would have been worse if it weren&#8217;t for the government&#8217;s BRL 600 coronavirus emergency salary, which kept millions from falling below the extreme poverty line.</li><li><strong>Investments</strong> were down 15.4 percent in Q2 — a trend Brazil desperately needs to reverse if it is to bounce back.</li></ul> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2653072" data-url="" aria-label="Visualise individual series and their total"><script src=""></script></div> <p><strong>Reasons to be optimistic.</strong> President Jair Bolsonaro announced the extension of the emergency salary. While the benefit will be halved, it will notwithstanding be a necessary injection of money into the economy.</p> <p><strong>Bottom line. </strong>Brazil needs reforms to stimulate investments — and Mr. Bolsonaro promised to present Congress tomorrow with a proposal to reform public service. To avoid political backlash and make the bill easier to pass, he ensured that the new rules won&#8217;t affect current civil servants — one of Brasília&#8217;s most powerful lobbies.</p> <ul><li>One year ago, Mr. Bolsonaro shelved this reform. And the government has made a habit of breaking its promises on presenting reforms. Over 18 months after taking office, the Bolsonaro government has yet to come up with a full tax reform — despite this being advertised as a top priority back in 2018.</li></ul> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Anti-vax is now state policy</h2> <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img loading="lazy" width="800" height="532" src="" alt="bolsonaro vaccine" class="wp-image-48899" srcset=" 800w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 600w" sizes="(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px" /></figure> <p>Speaking to supporters on Tuesday, President Jair Bolsonaro declared that &#8220;nobody can force anybody to take a vaccine.&#8221; Moments later, the administration&#8217;s official communication channels said &#8220;the government fights for the liberty of Brazilians.&#8221;</p> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> Brazil has one of the best public vaccination programs in the world, but the growing strength of the anti-vax movement is undermining these efforts and allowing certain diseases to make a comeback.&nbsp;</p> <ul><li>The country had managed to eradicate measles, but has observed <a href="">outbreaks since 2018</a>.</li></ul> <p><strong>Political element.</strong> Using the argument of individual freedom to promote an anti-scientific message is not new for President Bolsonaro. However, this time the anti-vax discourse may be related to his race for re-election in 2022. São Paulo Governor João Doria is using his state&#8217;s privileged position to help <a href="">coronavirus vaccine trials</a> as a way of promoting himself politically — potentially strengthening his own presidential challenge. Fustigating these efforts could be in Mr. Bolsonaro&#8217;s political interest.</p> <iframe src="" width="100%" height="232" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>What else you need to know today</h2> <ul><li><strong>Data protection.</strong> Brazil&#8217;s new General Data Protection Law was passed in 2018, but most companies never adapted their processes to comply with the new regulations. A survey by Akamai Technologies shows that 64 percent of companies are not in conformity with new data protection rules — and 24 percent didn&#8217;t even know about the law&#8217;s existence. Sanctions may be applied in 2021.</li><li><strong>Governor.</strong> The Superior Court of Justice (STJ) decides today on whether to uphold a Friday ruling by one of its justices to <a href="">suspend Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel from office</a>. He is suspected of running a corruption ring to embezzle state funds, but has called his suspension a political act to benefit President Jair Bolsonaro. Meanwhile, the Federal Prosecution Office says it has &#8220;a firm belief&#8221; that Mr. Witzel should be arrested to prevent evidence tampering, and is expected to present another formal complaint against him.</li><li><strong>Energy.</strong> President Jair Bolsonaro signed a provisional decree allowing for reductions in power bills until 2025. The piece of legislation, however, does not explain how much these cuts will be — nor who is awarded them.</li><li><strong>Gas.</strong> The House passed a bill that would create more competition in the gas market, limiting market share for state-owned firm Petrobras. If the bill passes in the Senate, the government expects BRL 60 billion in new investments in five years — as well as reduction in gas bills of up to 40 percent. Price cuts to the final consumer, however, are unlikely in the short term.</li><li><strong>Banking.</strong> In a <a href="">securities filing</a>, private bank Bradesco said it has signed an agreement with JPMorgan to &#8220;facilitate the potential transfer&#8221; of JPMorgan clients in Brazil to Bradesco. The New York-based bank has roughly BRL 20 billion (USD 3.7 billion) under management in its Brazilian private banking unit — and, according to Bradesco, &#8220;continues to provide Brazilian clients with products and services abroad.&#8221;</li><li><strong>Elections.</strong> The postponement of municipal elections due to the pandemic ended up benefiting candidates with past convictions. In Brazil, those with one failed appeal after a criminal conviction lose their eligibility for public office for eight years. People who became ineligible in 2012 and were supposed to sit out of politics until October 2020 will now be able to run for office this year, as the election will happen in November — and the Superior Electoral Court ruled against extending the punishment.</li><li><strong>New bill.</strong> The Central Bank launches the new <a href="">BRL 200 bill</a> today. According to the bank, the decision to create the new banknote came as the use of printed money increased in Brazil — but experts say large notes make life easier for money launderers and trafficking.</li><li><strong>Car Wash.</strong> Deltan Dallagnol left his post as Operation Car Wash&#8217;s lead prosecutor after six years. His actions came to be questioned after <a href="">The Intercept revealed private messages exchanged</a> between him and former Judge Sérgio Moro, showing that the prosecution and the judge coordinated many of their actions, raising suspicions about the fairness of many cases. Mr. Dallagnol was the target of many disciplinary probes — most of which have been shelved — and leaves the operation as it loses prestige and power within the Federal Prosecution Office.

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