Brazil Should Scrap Telecom Rules and Start Over, Official Says

  • Freitas seeks to replace regulations governing voice service
  • Vote postponed on plan for Oi fines to be used as investments

Brazil should develop an entirely new regulatory plan for the telecommunications industry rather than focus on whether companies are complying with current rules for landline voice service, a government official proposed.

The current legal framework, created in 1998, is outdated because most Brazilians have phone service and can choose from different competitors, Igor Vilas Boas de Freitas, a commissioner of regulatory agency Anatel, said Thursday at a meeting in Brasilia. The agency is in the middle of its review every five years of whether operators such as Oi SA and Telefonica Brasil SA are meeting the terms of their service licenses, which include making phone service available to everyone.

Freitas proposed that the agency create a new plan for the sector within 40 days. The new framework would then be submitted for approval by the Communications Ministry and by President Dilma Rousseff.

Commissioner Rodrigo Zerbone Loureiro asked for some time to analyze Freitas’s proposal. The Anatel council will meet again on March 3.

Separately, the commissioners postponed a vote on whether to let Oi keep a portion of the 4.5 billion reais ($1.1 billion) it owes in fines and use it for improvements to its mobile and broadband services. Oi has proposed a total investment of 1.2 billion reais. The commissioners decided they need more time to weigh details of the plan.

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