Brazil Telecoms: Mobile Scramble

Sep 1, 2010

Ownership of Brazilian telecoms is in flux, reflecting elevated foreign interest as well as expansion on the ground. Consolidation has several more acts to run.

by Vincent Bevins

In late July, Telefónica finally wrapped up a lengthy – and expensive – quest to buy Portugal Telecom(PT) out of a mobile venture in Brazil, and will now be able to integrate it with fixed-line services. Not willing to leave Latin America’s biggest market behind, PT used part of the proceeds to buy a share in Oi, Brazil’s only major national telecoms provider.

Not to be outdone, Carlos Slim’s empire shortly afterwards sent a clear signal of its own major consolidation plans for Brazil. And now, there is speculation that UK-based Vodafone may be eyeing the local operations of Telecom Italia, which controls the other major mobile service in Brazil.

The scramble reflects two major trends. The first is familiar enough to almost be cliché: emerging markets are seen to be powering world economic growth and offer much more...

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