Anatel, Brazil’s telecoms regulator, has lifted a ban on the sale of new mobile phone plans by three of the country’s major operators plans that it put in place a couple of weeks ago. The ban was imposed as a punishment for poor coverage and service but the lack of warning has surprised observers.
The move follows the regulator approving investment proposals from the companies. TIM Brasil, who are owned by Telefonica Italia, America Movil’s Claro and domestic operator Oi made promises to invest in their networks. Other operators made similar commitments but were not penalised in the same way
TIM was banned from making sales in 19 out of 27 Brazilian states, including Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, Claro was forbidden from selling in three states and Oi had been banned in five states. There were heavy fines in place were they to violate the bans.
Observers have noted that TIM, deemed the worst offender, was actually the biggest investor. It is thought that local factors may hinder the investment programmes when it comes to actually erecting masts. Operators have complained that local authorities’ planning restrictions have delayed efforts to expand the service and coverage of networks.
Anatel’s concerns are thought to stem in part from Brazil’s commitments to host the World Cup and Olympics in coming years, however it is unclear what impact the new investment plans will have on service and coverage and when it will be felt by consumers.