Bureaucratic ‘complications’ likely to delay Virgin birth

27 Sep 2012

Virgin Mobile Latin America (VMLA) is reportedly experiencing difficulties in its negotiations with Brazil’s mobile network operators as it bids to initiate its long-planned mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) project in Brazil. Quoting Jeffery Buckwalter, VMLA’s senior VP for business development, BNAmericas writes that the company has not yet closed a deal with a Brazilian carrier due to disagreements over pricing, high taxes, a ‘complicated regulatory framework’ and bureaucratic issues. In May this year, the executive revealed that the company was expecting to kick-start its Brazilian MVNO within 18 months, but he has now conceded that the launch may be postponed if negotiations remain stalled; after Virgin signs a deal with a host operator, it could take as long as ten months for telecoms regulator Anatel to issue it with a formal MVNO licence.

In related news, Buckwalter noted that VMLA will soft-launch its Colombian MVNO in December, before staging a full-scale launch in March 2013. Colombia and Brazil will follow Chile as the second and the third countries in Latin America to offer Virgin’s MVNO services. The company aims to operate in eight Latin American countries by 2015. Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Mexico are thought to be high on the company’s list of target markets.