Brazil’s largest mobile operator, Vivo, has reported promising results for the first quarter of 2004 with all its units improving their operating and financial performance. The largest unit Telesp Celular Participaçoes reported losses of BRL25.2 million (USD12.1 million) for the three months to the end of March, a significant improvement on the BRL132 million loss it made in the same period of 2003. The operator said it hopes to reach breakeven in the third quarter of 2004, if foreign exchange rates remain stable, although its financial results are still being dragged down by the acquisition of Tele Centro Oeste Celular (TCO Celular) last year. By the start of April Telesp Celular and TCO Celular, along with TCO subsidiary Norte Brasil Telecom (NBT), claimed a combined customer base of 14.3 million, up from 11.6 million at the end of 2003.
Meanwhile profit for Tele Sudeste Celular Participaçoes reached BRL29.9 million, up 26.4% year-on-year, and its customer base grew to 3.78 million, up from 3.71 million three months earlier. Tele Leste Celular reported a BRL4.1 million loss, a 74.7% improvement on the BRL16.2 million loss for Q1 2003, while the total number of subscribers grew from 1.12 million to 1.19 million. Celular CRT’s revenue grew by 50% in the year, to BRL63.6 million, while its client base reached 2.62 million, up from 2.52 million at the end of 2003. Finally Global Telecom’s customer base grew by 10.8% in the three months to the end of March to 1.2 million.
Vivo, a 50/50 joint venture between Telefónica of Spain and Portugal Telecom, was formed in 2002 and launched services officially on 8 April 2003. It immediately became the largest mobile operator in the country providing services in 19 states as well as the Brasilia Federal District, and covering around seven million square kilometres. At the end of 2003 it claimed a total customer base of 20.65 million and a market share of 44.76%, with its main rivals Telecom Americas (Claro) and TIM Brasil holding 20.64% and 17.99% respectively. Vivo’s total customer base had risen to 23.09 million three months later.