Brazil watchdog sees 5G wireless auctions after 2020

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil will auction rights to operate fifth-generation mobile carrier licenses after 2020, once global regulators and carriers agree on terms for the bandwidth and frequencies of the new technology, the head of industry watchdog Anatel said Tuesday.

Anatel President Juarez Quadros also said in an interview that local fixed-line carriers migrating from the existing licensing model would have to invest an amount equal to the value of the so-called reversible fixed-line assets they hold.

The value of those assets is less than the 105 billion reais ($32.8 billion) calculated by the federal auditing court (TCU) because these assets depreciated overtime, Quadros said.

A bill changing the licensing model has passed Congress, but a legal challenge has kept President Michel Temer from signing it into law.

The new legislation transfers to carriers the ownership of assets related to their fixed-line concessions, clearing up lingering legal uncertainties from old regulations. In exchange, the carriers are expected to invest millions of dollars in the expansion of broadband services in Brazil.

The value of the reversible assets will be calculated by Anatel within 180 days after the law takes effect, Quadros said.

Reporting by Leonardo Goy; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Ana Mano; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Andrew Hay