Fixed line operator Brasil Telecom has announced plans to enter the VoIP market with the launch of a new service, VoipFone. Its first foray will be a low profile affair to test the market and the telco is only aiming to sign up 20,000 users during the course of 2006. This number is similar to the target set by Brazilian VoIP start-up Hip Telecoms, while the more ambitious Tellfree is striving for 60,000 customers. VoIP is seen as an add-on to Brasil Telecom’s ADSL broadband service. The operator ended 2005 with a million high speed internet users and aims to increase this by 20%-40% in 2006. VoipFone will be introduced in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and will be charged at BRL36 (USD15.92) for a bundle of 200 minutes, with an additional charge for excess minutes.
In a separate story, Brazil’s largest operator Telemar has revealed plans to invest nearly BRL1 billion (USD442 million) in 2006 to provide audiovisual content for broadband clients. Telemar sees the video-streaming of films as key to developing its broadband subscriber base, but must first invest in order to obtain distribution rights for such services.