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Brazilian Phone Companies

Legislation: The most important legal piece is Law nr. 9473, July 17th 1997, known as the Telecommunications Act.

History: Until 1998, buying a phone line in Brazil was a nightmare. Read this brief History.

Privatization: The telecommunication companies were privatized in 1998. Read more about
privatization of phone companies in Brazil

The situation today
Today, all the telecommunication companies are private. The
Ministry of Communications is responsible by strategic, long term planning, while Anatel - Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes - is responsible for regulatory functions (similar to American FDDC).
As of January 2004, there were 42,317,263 private and 1,317,498 public terminals in Brazil, as informed by Anatel; visit the next link (PDF file) for updated information on the
number of phone terminals in Brazil.
Anatel doesn't seem to keep updated info on the number of mobile phones, but
this site does. For comparison purposes, as of Jan. 2004, there were 46.955.244 mobiles in Brazil.

After the privatization in 1998 (see link above), the country was divided in geographic regions, and each region had one local operator (Embratel was the only long distance carrier). Today, there are at least two operators in every State; below, a brief description of the operators:
Embratel long distance and international calls carrier
Intelig long distance and international calls carrier
Telefônica subsidiary of Spanish holding Telefonica. Originally, was authorized to operate within the State of Sao Paulo only, but nowadays is also operating long distance and international calls.
Brasil Telecom Operates local calls and calls between the States of North, South and West Central: Acre, Distrito Federal, Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, Rondonia, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Tocantins. For a map, go here: Home > Information > Geography > Brazilian States
Telemar After the privatization, Telemar was authorized to operate in States of Northeast and Southeast; today, it operates also long distance and international calls. Telemar is one of the biggest private Brazilian corporations; it's the company with the highest weight in the Brazilian stock index.
Vésper Meant to be a competitor of Telemar and Telefonica; however, the technology employed (based on radio, instead of cables) was not successful.

The following companies are smaller in size and operate in restrict areas:
CTBC Telecom Operates mostly in cities of Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo and Rio; carries voice and data.
GVT (Global Village Telecom) - operates in the same area as Brasil Telecom
Sercomtel Operates in some cities in the State of Parana

Mobile Phone
For chartering of mobile phone services, the country was also divided in geographic zones. Besides, the spectrum of frequencies was also divided in several bands. Each State has at least two, and some have up to four mobile operators (some of the non-mobile phone operators have been allowed to operate mobile service).
Click the next link to see the
zones and bands of the mobile phone services in Brazil.
And click the link for a list of
mobile phone operators in Brazil.

Price comparison
Maximum prices are controlled by Anatel, following legal and contractual dispositions. However, competition has obliged operators to offer discounts, based on volume, pre-paid packages or other criteria. Anatel periodically publishes the maximum allowed prices; for a table which takes discounts into account, visit
this site

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