According to BNamericas, Brazil’s third largest telecoms company Brasil Telecom (BrT), which is backed by Citibank, Telecom Italia and Banco Opportunity, is rumoured to be in talks to buy domestic long-distance operator Intelig Telecom, currently owned by the UK’s National Grid (50%), Sprint (25%) and France Télécom (25%). All three have reportedly been looking to sell their stakes since late 2001.
According to Telegeography’s GlobalComms database, Intelig Telecom was set up as the mirror company of DLD and ILD operator Embratel, although it has since been awarded a licence to offer local services nationwide. It paid USD45 million for its original licence in 1999 and launched services the following January. Twelve months later it signed a deal with AES subsidiary Eletronet for the exchange of transmission capacity on each other’s networks, enabling it to provide services where its own network is inadequate and reducing its dependence on Embratel. In January 2004 it was granted a licence to operate in the local telephony sector, and by the end of that month had rolled out local services to ten cities. By the end of 2005 it had achieved coverage of all the country’s principal cities. Intelig also has access to North and South America and Europe via submarine cables.