Rule changes in Brazil could allow converged operators to abandon underused assets to free-up cash to invest in improving 4G, Reuters reported.
Under current regulations the country’s operators are required to support loss-making fixed assets in a number of areas of Brazil. However, regulator Anatel is currently mulling a rule change to remove some obligations.
Should Anatel decide to amend laws Reuters’ sources said operators would make significant savings, which could then be used to invest in other infrastructure including improvements in 4G.
The sources noted Oi and Telefonica’s Vivo unit were the two companies with the largest underused fixed liabilities, with both forced to maintain rarely accessed public telephones and retain abandoned real estate.
These obligations, the sources added, were one of the issues preventing overseas investment in troubled operator Oi. Both China Telecom and China Mobile were linked with moves for Oi in late 2017 ahead of the Brazilian operator agreeing a debt restructuring plan with some of its creditors.
The report comes just after rumours emerged US operator AT&T was considering launching mobile services in Brazil to go alongside its existing Sky Brazil TV service.