The Brazilian government began an investigation Monday into whether telecommunications firms operating in the country cooperated with the U.S. as part of a spying program that has collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations.
Anatel, the government agency that regulates the telecom sector in Brazil, said it’s working with federal police and other government agencies on the investigation.
The O Globo newspaper reported this weekend that information released by the National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden showed Brazil is the top target in Latin America for the NSA’s massive intelligence-gathering effort aimed at monitoring communications around the world.
Matthew Malinowski, Telma Marrotto – Bloomberg Businessweek, 11/16/2012
Brazil’s telecommunication regulator Anatel ordered Tim Participacoes SA (TIT) to suspend its Infinity Day Promotion because of concerns over its quality of service.
The Infinity Day Promotion consists of unlimited calls at a fixed price for 24 hours between telephones operated by Tim. The company said it disagrees with Anatel decision as there is no evidence of “any potential of network instability,” according to an e-mailed statement.
Tim executives “are ready for a clarification meeting with Anatel in Brasilia,” the company said in the statement. Shares fell 3.7 percent to 7.72 reais in Sao Paulo, the second-worst performer among members of the benchmark Bovespa index.
Brazil already represents the largest ecommerce market in Latin America. Brazil’s online population, 78 mi, is larger than the total population of Spain, France or UK. E-commerce has been skyrocketing in Brazil, average growth of 32,5% in the last two years and expected 26% growth in 2012. However, the use of mobile phones to access the web is still in its infancy: online traffic generated from mobiles and tablets represent only 1.5% of all web traffic in the country. Today, Brazilians are still using their phones only to talk and to send texts. Tomorrow they will use their phones to surf the web and shop as well.
According to Brazil’s Telecommunication National Agency (Anatel), there are 116 cell phones for every 100 people in Brazil. However, smartphones are still underutilized in Brazil. The proportion of purchases made from mobiles phone is strikingly small, below 1% of total online sales. Following the global trend, e-commerce is expected to rise steeply in “the country of the future.” By 2015, at least half of Brazil’s population, or 100 million people, will have a mobile phone with Internet access.
Mobile shopping is already a reality in the developed world. PayPal generated $750 million in revenues from mobile in 2010. In 2011, Paypal’s mobile revenue forecasts were $1,5 bn. Later in 2011 the online payment system owned by eBay boosted forecast to $ 3 billion. Finally, eBay’s cash cow ended processing over $4 billion in payments only in 2011. For 2012, Paypal is expecting $7 billion in mobile payment volume.
Carla Simoes & Crayton Harrison – Bloomberg, 03/12/2012
Fees charged by Brazil’s mobile carriers may drop almost 80 percent through 2018 as the country’s regulator seeks to catch up with other nations’ moves to cut prices and boost competition in the industry.
The mobile interconnection fee, or VU-M, may fall to 10 centavos (5.6 cents) a minute from the current 48 centavos a minute, should an analysis of a new cost model be approved, Emilia Ribeiro, commissioner of Brazil’s telecommunications regulator, known as Anatel, said in an interview in Brasilia on March 7.
Interconnection fees are what carriers charge to competitors in exchange for accepting incoming calls to their networks. While reductions would result in lower prices for consumers, mobile phone price cuts in Brazil are lagging behind those of other nations, including Spain and Mexico, which have already halved interconnection fees.