Eduardo Hayden Carvalhaes Neto Ricardo Barretto Ferreira da Silva October 24 2001 ANATEL Stimulates WLL Technology Barretto Ferreira e Brancher Sociedade de Advogados | Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media - Brazil Eduardo Hayden Carvalhaes Neto, Ricardo Barretto Ferreira da Silva Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media Proposal ObjectivesEquipment OperatorsCriticismCommentOn August 6 2001 the Brazilian Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) published Resolution 271, which includes the 'Final Provisions' Chapter of the Regulation for the Use of Wireless Local Loop Systems for the Provision of the Switched Fixed Telephone Service Designed for the Public (Resolution 166 of September 28 1999). Proposal ObjectivesThe regulation governs the use of wireless local loop (WLL) technology for the provision of the switched fixed telephone service (SFTS). With the aim of increasing the facilities for the implementation of SFTS networks using WLL systems, ANATEL has approved all user portable terminal equipment that satisfies the regulation's Access Terminal Station (ATS)(1) characteristics, established in the rules that govern the use of WLL technology for the provision of SFTS. By substituting ATS for portable terminals, ANATEL expects that operating costs will be lowered and installation processes will be simplified, thus ensuring that the new SFTS operators which have adopted WLL technology will be more competitive.Equipment The user must expressly opt for the new terminal option but cannot be compelled by the operator to change its equipment. Providers must submit information on a monthly basis to ANATEL relating to the installed terminals, outlining the type of access terminal station used.The user portable terminal equipment must be certified by ANATEL. The new chapter authorizes the use of portable terminal sets (of the cellular phone type) for the provision of SFTS with WLL technology. The main characteristic of this technology is the use of radio signals instead of cables.OperatorsCellular telephony operators have expressed their concern about the possible use of the cellular system at the cost of local fixed calls, which could reduce use of the cellular network. Various suggestions were submitted to the public consultation that preceded the publication of the final regulation. It was suggested that Article 16 be excluded from the proposal, bringing about the consequent exclusion of Articles 17 and 18. It was also suggested that an express prohibition should be included in the original text regarding the mobility of the portable terminal equipment to guarantee that the characteristics of SFTS would not be lost. The mobile use of portable equipment for SFTS is prohibited since fixed telephony services and tariffs have their own particular characteristics. According to ANATEL there are two ways for SFTS mobility restriction to be guaranteed: (i) by delimiting the geographical area of use through the operating system, using specific softwares to restrict the area, and (ii) by imposing the letter of the law strictly, since ANATEL is authorized to inspect and enforce the regulation (although it has admitted that punishment for any violation of a contract would occur only if claims could be proven by its inspection agents). A member of ANATEL's board stressed that in the Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) system the WLL centrals can restrict the mobility of the equipment.CriticismOne commentator suggested that permitting cellular terminals in WLL will permit mobility within the area covered by the cell. A suggested alternative was the adoption of practical and objective measures to effect unbundling.Another commentator emphasized the incompatibility of the proposal's text with the provisions of Resolution 166/99, which regulates the use of WLL for the provision of SFTS, on the grounds of: Article 3, which defines a 'fixed station'; Article 7, which refers to the use of telephony processes that characterize SFTS (ie, from a fixed point); and Article 12, which prohibits mobility beyond the geographical area of the property indicated by the subscriber.CommentNotwithstanding the criticism, the new regulation does have positive aspects. Among them are (i) the creation of conditions for increasing the competitiveness of mirror companies, and (ii) the availability of a large variety of portable terminals at lower prices. Also, the new regulation simplifies access for the public and provides SFTS operators with a swifter and cheaper means of achieving their universalization goals.According to ANATEL the new measures are no more costly for the user and will benefit the incumbents that use WLL technology.ANATEL has emphasized that the companies that simultaneously provide fixed and cellular services will be able to offer both through one portable set if their equipment has a dual mode.For further information on this topic please contact Ricardo Barretto or Eduardo Hayden Carvalhaes Neto at Barretto Ferreira, Kujawski, Brancher e Gonçalves – Sociedade de Advogados by telephone (+55 11 3066 5999) or by fax (+55 11 3167 4735) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).Endnotes(1) Items of equipment that constitute the user station and permit its integration into the SFTS.