Brazil’s Post set to enter mobile phone market

The Brazilian government has authorised Brazil’s Post and Telegraph Company to provide third party products and services through its post offices, clearing the way for it to enter the mobile phone market. The Ministry of Communications said the state-owned company would be able to expand the traditional portfolio of services available through its retail outlets through business partnerships.

In particular, the move is designed to allow the state-owned postal service to get into the market for selling mobile phones, services and accessories, and potentially become a “virtual” mobile phone operator in its own right by leasing telecoms network capacity from partners.

But, it could also see services from public-sector organisations offered through postal counters.

Ministers said a measure published in the nation’s Official Gazette last week would leave Brazil Post to decide which products and services are offered, and arrangements for agreeing contracts with partners.

“We want to leave the company to decide which services may be provided in the form of a partnership, according to market needs and evaluation of its own post office,” said Luciana Pontes, the postal services minister.

Remote areas

However, there are some parameters set for products and services, which will have to be compatible with existing activities of the post office, and ensure that supporting infrastructure is sufficient for the operation of any products or services offered.

This idea particularly applies to mobile phones having sufficient network coverage in areas in which they are sold by any of Brazil’s 6,000 state-owned post offices and 1,300 franchised post offices.

Ministers believe the new regulation will benefit people in more remote areas, offering access to telephone services.

Pontes said: “A major focus on this authorisation is to allow the postal service to provide a virtual mobile phone service.”

Brazil’s government brought in a new law in November 2010 to allow the establishment of “Mobile Virtual Network Operators”, under the supervision of the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel).

It allows any company with an extensive customer base like the Post Office can lease network capacity from traditional phone companies, reselling mobile services under their own brands.

Ministers said by allowing Brazil Post to expand into mobile phone services, additional revenues would be generated to support the expansion and improvement of basic postal services.

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