Created in 1997, Anatel (National Telecommunications Agency) is undergoing intense changes that will substantially alter the rules for access and use of the radio spectrum for ordinary citizens and, especially for private corporate customers. With little visibility, the private corporate client may lose out in terms of the amount of spectrum allocated to its activities – although it is a persistent taxpayer and generator of jobs and income for the Brazilian nation.
In structural terms, the Federal Government’s view of bidding for concessions so that the private sector can exploit the telecommunications service in Brazil is not wrong, and it is even the management model adopted in countries such as the United States and many others in the European Community. The Achilles heel here in Brazil has been the inspection of contracts not only by Anatel, but also by the Federal Public Ministry and the Ministry of Justice (Cade), which have been passively assisting the poor quality of the service, the concentration in the hands few companies that undermine competition and consumer choice.
Fines. No, they don’t scare operators. Here in Brazil they can appeal indefinitely and drag millionaire lawsuits for decades. This competition of factors made Brazil a paradise for mobile operators.
Recently in France, a small mobile operator, to enter the market and have a differential, offered to competitors’ consumers an upgrade of data packages from 3G to 4G for free. While in countries where the consumer is respected because the government stimulates competition, here we see the concentration of the service in the hands of a few and the total disincentive to the small service provider. When will we see such an attitude here in Brazil? Difficultly.
Let us look, for example, at the case of small operators that once held the granting of the Specialized Mobile Service, in the process of being extinguished by Anatel, whose best known provider is Nextel, which last year became a provider of Private Mobile Service (operator mobile telephony). Recently it had to join Vivo in order not to sink in the uncertain sea of ??competition with giants.
What, then, about the small businesses that hold the Specialized Limited Service Grant that largely serve the consumer of corporate telecommunications services? The trend is increasingly to pay new taxes that Anatel intends to create – a fact that makes competitiveness less and favors the continuity of poor quality and the lack of alternatives for the consumer – who pays very dearly for services of terrible quality.
(*) Adriano Facchini is a telecommunications entrepreneur and president of Aerbras