Brasil Telecom cleared to run mobile services

16 Jan 2004

Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel yesterday gave the go-ahead for Brasil Telecom to expand its national footprint in the country and introduce new operations, including mobile services. The industry watchdog also sanctioned Telecom Italia (TI), a shareholder in Brasil Telecom through its holding in the operator’s parent company Solpart, to up its stake in Solpart and thus reclaim a place among Brasil Telecom’s group of controlling shareholders. In 2002 the Italian giant was forced to reduce its interest in the parent firm to below 20% under the terms of the conditions attached to the award of licences for Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) to launch wireless services in Brazil. Anatel stipulated that TIM could not launch in regions where Brasil Telecom already operated – central and southern Brazil – until the Brazilian telco had met pre-agreed capex and operating targets, and while TI had a voting capability in the domestic operator. However, the regulator now says that Brasil Telecom has met its commitments and has therefore given the green light to TI to up its Solpart stake to the original level of 38%. TI has also been told that it now has 18 months in which to strike an agreement with Brasil Telecom’s principal shareholder, the Opportunity Group, over the fate of their two potentially competing licences to offer mobile services.