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Brazil suspends some sales by three mobile operators

20 июля 2012

Brazil's telecommunications regulator Anatel has suspended sales by three mobile-phone companies in some states because of the volume of customer complaints.

"The measure was taken as a result of the growth, witnessed by Anatel since last year, of the number of complaints registered at Anatel," the regulator said in a statement.

The suspension will start on Monday, and will affect TIM Participacoes SA, a unit of Telecom Italia SpA; Oi SA; and Claro, a unit of Mexico's America Movil SA.

TIM won't be allowed to sell in 19 states, Oi in five states and Claro in three states, Anatel said. Significantly, Claro won't be allowed to sell phones in Brazil's wealthiest and most populous state, Sao Paulo, while TIM won't be allowed to sell lines in Rio de Janeiro state.

TIM said that it was "surprised by the extreme measure adopted by Anatel." TIM noted that it was the lone Brazilian mobile-phone operator that sells unblocked phones and without fines for terminating services."Today, the sole element that keeps a client with TIM is their satisfaction," TIM said."Such a disproportional measure by Anatel will certainly affect competition in the country's telecommunications sector to the benefit of some competitors."

Meanwhile, Oi said that Anatel's analysis did not "reflect the massive investments made to improve [the company's] network" over the past 12 months.

In a statement late Wednesday, Claro said that temporary problems with a call center serving the three states were behind Anatel's action. Changes at the call center have already shown an improvement in customer satisfaction for June, Claro said.

The companies now have 30 days to present an investment plan to resolve problems with the quality of the service they're providing to customers, Anatel said. Once that plan is accepted by Anatel, the firms can restart sales.

Together, the three account for around 70% of the Brazilian mobile-phone market; Telefonica Brasil SA is the fourth operator, with the remaining 30% share. Telefonica also must present an investment plan, Anatel said.

Shares in two of the locally traded firms to be affected, TIM and Oi, were down 2.8% and 4.5%, respectively, while the broad Ibovespa index was up 1.1% on the day. Shares in Telefonica Brasil were up 0.2%.

New York-traded shares in America Movil were down 1%.

The regulator on Wednesday also released data showing that the growth of the mobile market in Brazil slowed again in June. Total mobile-phone users in Brazil rose to 256.13 million in June, up 0.46% from May, Anatel said. A total of 1.2 million new subscribers were signed up in June, down from the nearly 2 million new subscriptions seen in May.

Telefonica is the largest operator overall and saw its market share steady in the period, at 29.6%. TIM was second with 26.9%; Claro ranked third with a 24.6% share; and Oi SA remained in fourth place with 18.6%.



Источник: Total Telecom

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