Brazil telecommunications regulator Anatel may lift the ban on sales of data and voice subscriptions by three of the country’s top mobile phone companies in about 20 days, a government official familiar with the matter said.
Anatel will need at least 15 days to review investment proposals of Tim Participacoes SA (TIMP3), America Movil SAB (AMXL)’s Claro and Oi SA (OIBR4) to improve their networks, said the person, who asked not to be named because the discussions aren’t public.
Tim was blocked from selling services in 18 of Brazil’s 26 states and in the federal district, while Oi was banned in five states and Claro in three because of network failures, Anatel said yesterday. The ban on Claro included Sao Paulo, the nation’s most populous state, and Tim was blocked in the second- and third-biggest states, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro.
“Each company is at a different level right now, so the goals for each will be different,” Bruno Ramos, private services superintendent for Anatel, told reporters today in Brasilia. “Anatel will monitor compliance with the goals monthly and will issue new suspensions if the levels aren’t reached.”
The regulator was meeting with Tim and Claro executives today and will meet with Oi’s tomorrow to discuss their plans, according to Anatel’s press office. Ramos said Anatel won’t provide an estimate on when it will lift the ban.
Tim is the nation’s second-largest carrier, with 27 percent of wireless subscribers, trailing only the 30 percent held by Telefonica Brasil SA (VIV:US), which wasn’t hit by any sales ban. Claro has 25 percent of the market, and Oi has 19 percent, according to Anatel.
The sales restrictions led to a selloff yesterday in the shares of all three companies, with Oi recovering today after analysts including Luis Azevedo of Banco Bradesco SA said its ban would hurt less because it only applies in smaller states.
Tim, based in Rio de Janeiro, fell 8.8 percent to 8.63 reais in Sao Paulo. America Movil slid 0.6 percent to 17.83 pesos in Mexico City, where it’s based. Rio de Janeiro-based Oi climbed 4.1 percent to 9.55 reais.
Claro and Tim presented investment plans to Anatel today that must be improved, Ramos said. The companies will present plans Monday with specific goals for the next two years, he said.
Claro is accelerating investments to comply with Anatel’s demands, Chief Executive Officer Carlos Zenteno told reporters. The company hopes Anatel will lift the sales ban within 30 days, he said.
“Claro is working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible,” he said. “We are prioritizing the delivery of information required by Antel to get back to normal.”
Tim’s press office declined to comment.
“We continue investing to guarantee the quality of our services meets your satisfaction,” Tim said in a text message to clients today.
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