Brazil: July mobile subscriber growth hit by telecoms ban

21 Aug 2012

The temporary ban on the sale of new mobile phones in some Brazilian states where service quality was deemed sub-par, has not surprisingly affected the pace of growth in July, the national regulator Anatel reports. In its latest market report, the watchdog said that total mobile phone users in Brazil climbed to 256.41 million last month, up just 0.11% (or 279,720 net new users) from June when growth reached 1.2 million net additions.

In mid-July Anatel ordered incumbent mobile operators TIM Brasil, Oi SA and Telecom Americas (Claro) to stop selling new cellphone plans in certain states, in response to a rising tide of customer complaints over poor service quality, including dropped calls and patchy coverage. The suspension, which was lifted on 10 August, affected TIM Brasil which was barred from selling plans in 19 states, Oi SA which was prohibited from signing up new users in five, and Telecom Americas (Claro) which was served a desist order in three states. Only Vivo, the Brazilian asset of Telefonica of Spain, escaped any sanctions, enabling it to increase its market share in the latest reporting period. Vivo closed out July with a 29.71% share in July up from 29.6% in June. TIM Brasil retained second place with a 26.78% share, down from 26.9%, Claro ranked third with 24.6% (unchanged), and Oi SA remained in fourth place with 18.6% of the market share, again unchanged on the previous month.