Government could allow Nextel Brasil to buy ailing Aeiou

13 Nov 2012

The Brazilian government could sanction a plan whereby NII Holdings’ local wireless subsidiary Nextel Brasil purchases smaller rival Unicel (trading as Aeiou) as a way of increasing competition in the mobile market, the Folha de S Paulo newspaper writes. Industry regulator Anatel is reported to be mulling whether or not it can hand over Unicel, which is in financial difficulty, to Nextel Brasil. Brazil’s big four – Vivo, Claro, TIM Brasil and Oi SA – cannot bid for Unicel as they each hold the maximum 80MHz of spectrum permitted under local law, however Nextel owns just 20MHz. With the main protagonists said to be lining up a legal challenge to such a plan, the paper adds that the case has another layer of political intrigue, as Unicel has alleged indirect ties to the President, Dilma Rouseff. According to Folha de S Paulo, the cellco is owned by Jose Roberto Melo da Silva, an acquaintance of Jose Roberto Camargo Campos, the husband of the president’s former chief of staff, Erenice Guerra. Ms Guerra left office amid accusations that she had used influence to help certain companies, including Unicel.

Brazil, Claro-nxt (formerly Nextel Telecomunicacoes), Unicel do Brasil Telecomunicacoes (Aeiou)