Brazil to provide mobile coverage throughout the Amazon by 2010

7 May 2009

The Commission of the Amazon, National Integration and Regional Development met this week to reiterate a commitment from the national regulator Anatel and national mobile operators, to ensure that by April 2010 all municipalities in the Amazon will have mobile telephony coverage. The target was set in 2007, but given the region’s vast geographic area and low population density, many areas remain largely isolated. The telecoms industry has made some progress however: between April 2008 and April 2009, 932 municipalities were connected to the national telephone network and 904 more are set to have cellular coverage by 30 April 2010. The Commission believes there is no possibility that Anatel will extend the deadline for companies to comply with the terms of the 2007 contract – benefiting a region of the country where demand for telephony services is increasing by about 30% per annum. According to the president of the Cellular Operators Association of Brazil (ACEL), Emerson Coast, national cellcos intend to fulfil their obligations, although he noted that, currently just 88.3% of the population of the Amazon has access to mobile telephony, compared to a national average of 90%.