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Brazil Mobile Carriers Face Removal of Dropped-Call Fees

Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Brazilian wireless carriers may lose revenue under a government proposal designed to cut down on fees by increasing the time users can restart dropped calls without incurring an extra charge.

Under the plan approved yesterday by telecommunications agency Anatel, a user who experiences a dropped call would be able to reconnect within two minutes without being charged for a new call. Current rules stipulate a time limit of 30 seconds for restarting a call at no extra charge.

Brazilian carriers offer some wireless plans that charge by the phone call instead of by the minute. Should the proposal be adopted it would cut into the revenue of Telefonica Brasil SA, Tim Participacoes SA, America Movil SAB and Oi SA, the nation’s largest wireless carriers. The plan now faces a public consultation, Anatel Superintendent Bruno Ramos said yesterday.

“If the call drops, no matter what the user’s plan of service, it will have to be charged only as a single call,” Ramos said in an interview in Brasilia. “The measure provides an enormous benefit for users on plans that charge per call.”

Anatel allowed Tim, America Movil and Oi to restart sales of new plans on Aug. 3 after they said they would improve their networks. The agency suspended sales in some states for 11 days, citing complaints about service including dropped calls.

Anatel reached its decision on removing dropped-call charges after the close of trading yesterday.

Telefonica Brasil, a unit of Madrid-based Telefonica SA, fell 0.7 percent to 49.51 reais in Sao Paulo yesterday. Tim, a division of Telecom Italia SpA, gained 0.9 percent to 8.61 reais. Rio de Janeiro-based Oi slid 2.2 percent to 8.90 reais. America Movil gained 1.5 percent to 17.08 pesos in Mexico City, where it is based.

To contact the reporters on this story: Carla Simoes in Brasilia Newsroom at csimoes1@bloomberg.net; Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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