So, besides having stadium works behind schedule, airports not ready, poor transportation infrastructure (and new projects also delayed), now FIFA will partner with the worst telecommunication company in Brazil to provide the communications infrastructure of the World Cup 2014.
The sound of the word FIASCO is growing louder and louder.
As FIFA said, Oi is the largest telecommunications company in Brazil. But there are many other facts that FIFA didn’t comment on; this post will direct to a few sources in the internet which talk about Oi; from this point below, personal opinions were avoided.
Oi is the new name (changed a few years ago) of Telemar (at the time of this writing, www.telemar.com.br redirected to www.novaoi.com.br).
Telemar was a consortium created to participate in the privatization process in 1998. There were several accusations of corruption in the participation of Telemar (a detailed report is here); there are voice recordings of high staff Governments indicating that the selection of bidders was biased, and that pension funds and BNDES funds (public money) were used to favor certain competitors and unfavor others (by the way, Telemar won the bidding process for one of the areas with an overprice of only 1% above the minimum bid; the winners of the other privatization areas had to pay overprices of 64%, 47% and 6% – read more about Telemar and bribes).
Today, the man behind Oi is Daniel Dantas, banker, owner of Opportunity (who, at the time of the privatization process, was involved with consortium Brasil Telecom).
Mr. Dantas appeared on the news several times in the past few years, such as (among others that I won’t remember) having spied on competitors, having spied members of the Government; having ‘business disagreements’ with Citicorp.
In 2005, news came out that Telemar had businesses with Lulinha, son of President Lula. Formerly, Lulinha worked in a Zoo, being paid barely above minimum wage; after his father was elected President, Lulinha started an obscure TV program, that few people cared about; Telemar paid R$ 5 millions to sponsor that program, and Lulinha became millionaire.
In 2008, Telemar wanted to buy Brasil Telecom (other of the winning bidders in the privatization process). This was against the law, because would result in too high concentration of the market. Just at the right time, however, Brazilian regulatory agency Anatel changed the legislation and allowed the purchase.
Brazilian news sites are full of notes about the coincidences involving Dantas, Oi, José Dirceu, Anatel, Lulinha, etc.
Dantas was arrested on July 8th 2008. Dantas threatened to open his mouth and talk about Senators, Deputies, judges. On July 9th, Dantas is released. On July 10th, Dantas is arrested again. And on July 11th, Dantas was released again.
The orders to arrest Dantas were issued by a First Instance Judge, Fausto Martin de Sanctis; the orders to release him were issued by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Gilmar Dantas.
On July15th 2008, Humberto Braz, the lieutenant of Dantas, was arrested, charged of trying to bribe (US$ 1 million) a Federal Agent, so that the agent would exclude Dantas and his sister from criminal investigations. In conversations recorded by the Police with Judicial authorization, Mr. Braz says to the Agent that “Daniel Dantas is worried only about what’s happening today. Up there, what’s going to happen there (in the Superior Courts), he doesn’t care. In the STF (the Supreme Constitucional Court) and in the STJ (the Supreme Law Court), he won’t have any problem”.
Today, Dantas is free, and the criminal process against him is still in the Courts; Brazilian news sites are full of notes about the process.
After purchasing Brasil Telecom, Oi became an even bigger company. But clients became more and more unhappy with the services. A survey in google for oi telemar procon (Procon is the Consumers Defense Agency) returns 200,000 pages. Oi is constant presence in the list of most complained about companies in Brazil (notice: among all companies, not only telecom companies); reclameaqui.com.br, a site about complaints, has thousands of records against Oi.
Update, April 10th 2010. Yesterday, April 9th, newspaper O Globo published a short note informing that the Brazilian Government was considering to contract Oi to manage the National Bandwidth Plan. The note sparked more than a 100 comments, almost unanimously attacking Oi; comments were on the line of “Oi is dishonest, Oi doesn’t deliver the bandwidth I paid for, Oi is an expensive monopolist, my bandwidth internet hasn’t been working for days, Oi is the worst telecom company in Brazil, I had to bribe Oi employees to have my bandwidth installed” and so on. Definitely, Oi is not the most popular corporation in Brazil.
This is the company that FIFA is partnering with.