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Tim Passes Slim’s America Movil in Brazilian Wireless Clients

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Tim Participacoes SA passed billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB in Brazil last month to become the second-largest carrier in Latin America’s biggest wireless market, luring more clients as its rivals reorganize.

Tim, the Brazilian unit of Telecom Italia SpA, had 25.78 percent of mobile-phone subscriptions in July, compared with 25.51 percent for America Movil’s Claro unit, according to Brazil’s telecommunications agency, known as Anatel. Telecomunicacoes de Sao Paulo SA, a unit of Spain’s Telefonica SA known as Vivo, led the market with a 29.53 percent share.

Tim is using promotions such as prepaid calls of unlimited duration to fixed lines to persuade more customers to switch off their home lines in favor of wireless phones. Tim customers averaged 127 minutes of use a month last quarter, up 15 percent from the same period last year.

“The primary thing has been offering low-cost long distance,” said Walter Piecyk, an analyst at BTIG LLC in New York. “The Infinity Web daily payment rates for Web access on phones has also been successful.” He advises buying the shares.

Tim gained 30 centavos, or 3.4 percent, to 9.20 reais in Sao Paulo trading. America Movil rose 20 centavos, or 1.4 percent, to 14.86 pesos in Mexico City, where the company is based.

America Movil and Telefonica are trailing Tim’s expansion after both made transactions last year to combine fixed-line networks with their wireless operations.

At the end of July, Tim’s subscriber base had increased 26 percent from a year earlier, compared with 18 percent growth for America Movil and 15 percent for Vivo.

Brazil’s wireless market grew 17.8 percent in July from a year earlier to 220.4 million subscribers, according to Anatel.

To contact the reporter on this story: Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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