Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel has lifted a ban on the sale of new mobile phone plans that it put in place for three of the country’s major operators, reports Reuters.
The ending of the ban comes after Telecom Italia-owned TIM Brasil, America Movil’s Claro and Brazilian operator Oi presented the regulator with satisfactory plans about how they are going to improve the service and coverage of their networks.
Anatel put the block on the operators selling new mobile phone plans as a penalty following an increasing number of complaints about poor customer service and coverage.
From the beginning of last week, TIM was banned from selling new voice and data plans across 19 of the 27 Brazilian states, including Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. Claro was forbidden from offering new contracts in three states, while Oi has been similarly hit in five states. The operators would be hit with a BRL200,000 (US$99,000) daily fine in any state where they contravened the ban.
The three operators were given 30 days to submit action plans about how they intend to improve their networks, which Anatel then assessed.
TIM Brasil challenged Anatel’s action, saying the penalty was "excessive and creates an imbalance in competitiveness of the market". Telefonica-owned Vivo, CTBC and Sercomtel were also ordered to present action plans but were not subject to the same contract suspensions.
Anatel is under pressure to be firmer with the country’s privately-run operators about service levels as Brazil prepares to host the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later.