Brazilian telecoms group Oi (Telemar) has launched commercial mobile operations in the state of Sao Paulo through a chain of around 100,000 sales points, BNamericas reports citing a company statement. At launch, the company intends to sell SIM cards only (i.e. no handsets) and is offering free trials of its services in the hope that users will be drawn by its products and switch over from their existing service provider. The operator says its decision is due to the high penetration of mobile phones in the state and the large reservoir of existing handsets there. The state is already served by mobile operators Vivo, Telecom Americas (Claro) and TIM Brasil.
Oi’s entry into the lucrative Sao Paulo market comes after it acquired two 2G spectrum licences there in December 2007, with a bid of BRL112 million (USD57 million). Oi’s strategy mirrors that of another Sao Paulo start-up, Unicel’s aeiou brand, which launched a SIM-only service there about a month ago after securing its licence in April 2007.