EU chief slams US strong-arm phone tactics

Spectrum wars?

In a strange reversal of the usual roles, European Union trade commissioner Pascal Lamy has lashed out at US strong-arm tactics in the Brazilian mobile phone market. With a population of 165 million Brazil is a huge prize for revenue-hungry telecoms manufacturers, but for whose telecoms manufacturers? Lamy says that the US is pressuring Brazil to license spectrum at 1.9GHz, which is of course where the US PCS companies operate. In Europe, on the other hand, 1.8GHz is one of the two places where the handsets currently hang out, so you can see how 1.9 would be handy for US companies wanting to sell into Brazil, while 1.8 would be better for European ones. Considering that the US is pretty much out on a limb with 1.9, it might make more sense for Brazil to go with Lamy on this, but there's the ticklish question of whose backyard Brazil counts as being in. And the one about whether the Monroe Doctrine still applies in these WTO days. Or indeed the one about whether Brazil actually ought to be anybody's back yard. ®

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