Telecom Italia’s Brazilian unit (TIM Brasil) is challenging a ban on it offering customers new mobile contracts imposed by national telecoms regulator Anatel, reports Reuters.
TIM said it will challenge the punishment, which will see it banned from selling mobile phone plans in 19 of Brazil’s 27 states from Monday, by filing a court challenge today. According to Reuters, the company said the penalty was "excessive and creates an imbalance in competitiveness of the market."
Sales bans were imposed on TIM, along with fellow operators America Movil’s Claro and Oi, as a punishment for poor network performance and to act as an incentive for the companies to make improvements to their networks. Claro was handed a sales ban in three states, while Oi is forbidden from selling new contracts in five states. Any operator contravening the ban will be fined BRL200,000 (US$99,000) per day per state.
Anatel has given the operators 30 days to produce action plans about how they propose to improve their networks. Once the plans have been received, Anatel will take two weeks to assess whether they are sufficient to lift the sales ban. Three other operators have been asked to present action plans concerning network improvements but have escaped a sales ban.
Anatel aims to drive the improvement of mobile coverage and customer service in response to an increase in complaints. This is particularly important with the demands that hosting the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will place on the country’s networks.
With TIM suffering the most significant penalty imposed by Anatel, Telecom Italia’s shares fell on the Milan stock exchange, with trading on shares halted at one point as stock fell by 8 percent.