Telecom Italia’s (TI’s) board of directors has authorised the company to explore a potential transaction between its Brazilian unit TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) and smaller rival Oi SA, in a move that could dramatically shake up the country’s wireless market. The board of directors has ‘empowered management to examine in depth the options for a possible integration’ of TIM and Oi, the Milan-based carrier said in a statement, after its board convened in Rome. A statement from TI read: ‘The next steps, if there are to be any, will be submitted to the board for approval, following the opinion of the committee of independent directors.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, as of 30 June 2014, TIM Brasil (26.6%) trailed Telefonica-backed market leader Vivo (28.5%) in terms of subscriber market share, narrowly ahead of third-placed Claro Brasil (24.8%). The mooted integration with fourth-placed Oi (18.3%) would see TIM Brasil take an undisputed lead, with a 44.9% share of all mobile users. Rivals Vivo and Claro have previously stated their interest in carving up TIM Brasil and dividing its subscribers between them and Oi.