Brazilian telecoms in flux

By Melissa Lesh

28 February 2014 at 10:28 BST

Telecommunication in Brazil is well-established, but is due for some major changes before the Olympic games.

Telecommunication in Brazil is well-established, but is due for some major changes before the Olympic games. Maciej Bledowski

The mobile market in Brazil is dominated by Vivo Participacoes—a joint-venture between Portugal Telecom and Telefonica— TIM Brasil, Claro, and Oi.   In late January, Brazilian antitrust regulators approved the merger of Portugal Telecom and Oi SA without restrictions; their projected annual revenue is US$16 billion and the merged company expects to service over 100 million subscribers across 3 countries.

Bypassing US spies

The EU approved Brazil’s proposed project to lay an undersea communications cable between Lisbon and Portaleza.  Brazilian President Dilma Roussef presented the $185 million project to the European Commission and European Council on Monday.  Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks revealed that the US NSA was tapping Brazilian officials’ phone lines and internet.  Even though US President Barack Obama afterwards banned surveillance on the leaders of close allies, Rousseff wants to ensure the “neutrality of the internet” by laying a communication cable that bypasses the US.  Currently, Brazil relies on US cables for transatlantic telecommunication.

IP Progress

Brazilian telecom regulator Anatel is increasingly active. It is transitioning the country from IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) to IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6)  as  IPv4 web addresses are expected to run out in May.  The new IPv6 will provide more IP addresses for Brazil, but the transition has been a slow one.  When the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI) could not negotiate the schedule of the project, Anatel took over.

Municipal abusive fees

TelComp, Brazil’s telecommunications competition association, has accused municipal authorities of charging “abusive”  fees for laying a fixed broadband infrastructure.  TelComp wants to take the matter to court, as the association believes the fees have a “questionable legal basis.”  They wrote both to Anatel and Congress to change the overcharging that results in customers receiving poorer communications services.  In Sao Paulo, for example, TelComp claims that the installation fee charged by the city is more than twice the value of the actual materials.  Prompted by TelComp, lawmakers have submitted several bill proposals to lower the fees.

Sources: BNA Americas, World Time, Fierce Telecom


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