Brazil’s mobile sector braced for MVNO entrants

23 August 2011 | Guy Matthews


Brazil’s already competitive mobile telephony market has taken a step closer to embracing the MVNO model following an announcement from national regulator Anatel.

Anatel has awarded formal permits to Sermatel Comércio e Serviços de Telecomunicações and Porto Seguro Telecomunicações, licensing them to provide virtual services. It has said that the two must now finalise commercial deals with network operator partners before launching their own services.

Insurance company Porto Seguro has already been in negotiations with TIM Brazil, which looks likely to host consumer services on its behalf with a launch expected by the end of 2011.

Sermatel, which operates under the Datora Telecom brand, has also reportedly signed a deal with TIM, but will proceed not as a consumer service but as a mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA), standing between MNOs and their MVNO customers.

Brazil’s mobile services market, though increasingly competitive, has considerable future growth potential, and is currently dominated by four network operators explained Lucia Bibolini, an analyst with the Buddecomm consultancy.

“Four companies dominate Brazil’s mobile telecom market - Telefónica’s Vivo, América Móvil’s Claro, Telecom Italia’s TIM Brasil, and Oi, controlled by Portugal Telecom and by the Brazilian Andrade Gutierrez group,” she said. “Together, these four operators control 98% of the country’s mobile subscriber base.”

Vivo, she said, is the leader with about 29% share of the market, with Claro and TIM Brasil contending for second and third place with 25% each, and Oi is fourth with 19%.

“Having sold its stake in Vivo to Telefónica, Portugal Telecom became a majority shareholder of Oi in March 2011, when it bought about 25% interest in the company,” she added.

In a separate deal, Anatel has green-lighted Vivo to develop fixed line services in all parts of Brazil except the Sao Paulo state.