Anatel wants full roaming in cities with less than 30 thousand inhabitants in 2019 🇧🇷

Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) and telecom operators are working together so that by the end of the year all municipalities with less than 30,000 inhabitants are served with mobile voice and data services, thanks to roaming among the four largest operators (Claro, Oi, TIM and Vivo), reports The idea is that, regardless of the operator serving the municipality, customers of any provider can connect to the network on a roaming basis.

 It will be the result of a working group between the four major operators and Anatel established in early 2018. The “Roaming 30K” project established that mobile service providers in their service areas should attend to subscribers of other providers in the municipalities with a population of less than 30 thousand inhabitants. By the invitation of 3G of 2012, in a set of municipalities with less than 30 thousand inhabitants should be covered until the end of 2019,

The agency then pressed the operators to roam even in cases where there are two or three competitors in cities with less than 30 thousand. In larger cities or where there are four carriers, there is no need for roaming, the agency says. To date, there are 1,708 cities in which roaming has already been requested.

According to data from Anatel, there are 667 municipalities with less than 30 thousand inhabitants with only one provider, 1,356 with two providers, 919 with three and 1,545 with four or more. In all municipalities with less than 30 thousand and that have up to three operators there will be the possibility of roaming for customers of the operator that does not have a network in place.

Most operators today agree with the national roaming model. But there are still resistances. One of the difficulties is precisely coverage as a competitive differential. Companies that invested in network expansion do not want to have to share it with others. Another problem is the design of backhaul and base stations to receive customers from other operators, beyond the difficulties of notice when you enter roaming, charging and measurement reckoning between them. Anatel does not intend to enter into the level of commercial agreements between companies to enable roaming. According to this news report, each company will be free to develop its business model. Abuses of competition may be assessed later, as well as cases where there are specific problems of network design and quality that may impede national roaming. Exceptions will be treated as exceptions, case by case.

Initially, of the 4,500 municipalities with a population below 30 thousand inhabitants, about 3,072 were not served by the four providers (Claro or Oi or Tim or Vivo). It is important to note that roaming is not confused with network sharing, where each operator has the control of the user that enters the network of the partner operator. In the roaming model, the operator that receives the customer does all the management and control of that cell phone and only transfers the value for the services provided to the originating operator, which can be charged to the customer or not, depending on the model of each company. Algar, for example, already has roaming throughout Brazil, but has always complained about the amount charged by its competitors.

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