Unicel emerges as sole bidder for São Paulo GSM concession

7 Feb 2007

According to the Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel, local telco Unicel do Brasil Telecomunicações (Unicel) submitted the sole bid for the unallocated GSM licence in the greater São Paulo metropolitan area, offering BRL93.8 million (USD45 million) for the concession. The regulator will study the bid, which is equal to the minimum asking price set by the regulator, and should have an answer by the end of February, an Anatel spokesperson confirmed to BNamericas. If its bid is accepted, Unicel will become the fourth player in the region alongside Vivo, TIM Brasil and América Móvil-backed Claro. Unicel has promised to undercut its rivals and hopes to start operations as soon as possible, having earmarked USD150 million for its network rollout and expenses. At launch it will probably offer pay-as-you-go services only, adding post-paid options at a later date.

Unicel has faced a rocky ride in its bid to enter the mobile market. In January this year Anatel called a halt to the auction of the São Paulo area licence to study documents presented by Unicel in accordance with the auction’s licensing rules. Previously Unicel was the sole applicant for the permit in February 2006, but its application was refused after it refused to provide the minimum 10% guarantee on the BRL93.8 million (USD43.5 million) licence fee, opting instead to offer just 1%.

Brazil, Claro Brasil (incl. Embratel & NET Servicos), National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel), TIM Brasil, Unicel do Brasil Telecomunicacoes (Aeiou)