Brazil round-up: Algar rebuffs takeover interest; BT Brasil unveils Jaguariuna teleport; Gilat deploys small cells for TIM Brasil; tower co merger approved

31 Oct 2014

Brazilian operator Algar Telecom has attracted takeover interest from competitors, but is not interested in a deal in the short term, company president Divino de Souza has told Reuters Brasil. The regional operator expects to invest around BRL400 million (USD162.2 million) in 2015, broadly in line with its level of investment for 2014. According to de Souza, Algar will invest approximately BRL43 million in the utilisation of its recently acquired 700MHz frequencies, of which BRL20 million will be used to ‘clean up’ the spectrum. The official also noted that it has expanded its coverage to 40 new cities so far this year, taking the total number of locations covered to 192; a further 40 cities will be added to its footprint in 2015. Going forward, Algar Telecom also has plans to go public, but is waiting for a ‘window of opportunity’.

Britain’s BT Group has announced that it has improved its satellite network resilience in Brazil by investing in a new teleport to provide site backup in situations where transmission at the main teleport might deteriorate due to adverse meteorological conditions. The new teleport has been established in Jaguariúna, 30km from BT Brasil’s main teleport site in Hortolandia. In the event of ‘link degradation’ at the primary site, data traffic will automatically switch over to the secondary site, minimising data loss and ensuring continuity of service. The two sites are connected via a fully duplicated fibre-optic connection. BT notes that its Hortolandia teleport mainly carries traffic for corporate customers over VSAT links. BT currently connects over 40,000 sites across the Sao Paulo region, and its customers range from government agencies to multinational companies.

Israeli firm Gilat Satellite Networks has announced the successful deployment of its CellEdge small cell-over-satellite solution at 20 rural sites in Brazil, as part of an agreement with TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil). TIM selected Gilat to provide a full turnkey solution of 3G coverage to the most remote regions of Parana state, which was delivered within a two-month time frame.

Brazil’s Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Economica (Council for Economic Defence, Cade) has approved, without restrictions, the acquisition of BR Tower by American Tower do Brasil, a process which was started in June this year. The transaction is valued at BRL2.1 billion. Founded by GP Investments in 2012, BR Towers operates more than 4,300 towers across the country, including assets acquired from service providers Vivo and Oi. According to Cade, the deal does not affect free competition because the two companies together only hold around 20% of the telecoms infrastructure in Brazil.

Finally, Telefonica-backed Vivo has said that it intends to boost investments in the three main states in northern Brazil (Amazonas, Para and Roraima), spending around BRL32.1 million to improve its transmission network and other infrastructure. The investment plan was revealed by director general Paulo Cesar Teixeira.