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Brazil - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 15 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 285

Brazil revises telecom legislation to facilitate market fluidity

The Brazilian fixed-line market continues to suffer from consumers substituting services for mobile and VoIP solutions, the latter offerings being treated as value-add and thus not being regulated. As a result, VoIP services are offered by many providers.

The country is a key platform for a number of important submarine cables connecting to the USA, Central and South America, Africa and the Caribbean. Several new cable systems are due to come into service through to 2022, which will increase bandwidth and push down broadband prices for end-users. Investments are also ongoing into extensive terrestrial cables between Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

The principal telcos include Telefónica Brasil, operating fixed-line and mobile services under the Vivo brand, as well as América Móvil operating services under the Claro brand. Oi also offers a range of services though the company’s financial difficulties have prompted it to consider selling its mobile business in a bid to reduce debt.

Brazil has one of the largest mobile markets in Latin America. Changes to the dynamics of the market further into 2020 are expected if Oi successfully completes the sale of its mobile unit. The multi-spectrum auction intended to push the development of 5G was scheduled for March 2020 but has been delayed due to interference issues with satellite TV broadcasts. The auction will be the largest conducted in Brazil thus far, though given the underused capabilities of LTE it is unlikely that the licensees will provide commercial services before the end of 2021.

The country also has one of the largest broadband markets in Latin America, though broadband penetration is only slightly above the regional average, trailing behind Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. Amendments to the licensing regime adopted in October 2019 also require that ISPs which have switched to authorisations invest money saved from lighter regulations be invested in the expansion of broadband services.

Claro is the leading broadband network operator, followed by Vivo and Oi. Oi and Vivo provide services via DSL while Claro is principally a cable broadband provider. The fibre segment has shown the strongest growth during the last two years, reflecting efforts among providers to extend their networks.

This report provides a review of Brazil’s telecom market, including infrastructure and the regulatory environment. It profiles the main fixed-line operators and provides relevant statistics and analyses. The report also covers the mobile voice and data segments, providing a range of statistics and analyses, as also subscriber forecasts. In addition, the report reviews the fixed and fixed-wireless broadband sectors, including an assessment of technologies and regulatory influences.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • More operators launch FttP services;
  • EllaLink cable system becomes operational;
  • Legislative reform eases restrictions on telcos and opens up market for spectrum trading;
  • GlobeNet and Facebook start laying the 2,500km Malbec cable;
  • Seabras-1 cable to provide direct route between the US and Brazil;
  • Nextel Brazil sold to América Móvil;
  • Multi-spectrum 5G auction delayed due to interference issues;
  • Mercosur countries end international roaming charges;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data updates to November 2019, operator data to Q3 2019, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic on the telecom sector, recent market developments

Companies mentioned in this report:

Telefónica Brasil/Vivo, TIM Brasil, Claro, Oi, Nextel Brasil, CTBC/Algar Telecom, Sercomtel Celular, Vodafone Brazil/ARQIA, Embratel, GVT, Universo Online (UOL), Net Serviços de Comunicação, Intelig, Neovia, Eletropaulo Telecom, Copel, BuscaPé, Global Crossing, Star One, TelesatBrasil, Hispamar, Telebrás, Intelig

Henry Lancaster

April 2020

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