Brazil and Chile to scrap international roaming charges from 2023

International roaming charges for mobile users travelling between Brazil and Chile will be scrapped from January 2023, it has been confirmed. Decree No. 10,949 was published in Brazil’s Official Diary of the Union (Diario Oficial da Uniao, DOU) on 26 January 2022, concluding a process that got underway with the signing of a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries in Santiago on 21 November 2018. As per the document, roaming charges must be cancelled within one year of the decree being signed. brazil chile roaming 2023

The deal culminates a long process that begun with the signing of a bilateral free trade agreement back in 2018 that also includes issues covering e-commerce between the two nations as well as government procurement contracts. brazil chile roaming 2023

Brazilian operators didn’t like this very much brazil chile roaming 2023

In July last year, Conexis, a union that represents operators such as Claro, Oi, TIM and Vivo, expressed its opposition to the agreement that would release roaming charges.

The entity says that the rule change may generate additional costs for all telecommunications consumers, mainly affecting those who do not travel abroad.

In addition to pointing out the possibility of increased costs, Conexis said that the change creates legal uncertainty in the market at a time when companies were preparing for the 5G auction. But here in 2022 we can say that everything went well with the bidding, we had new operators and this was an issue that did not harm the procedures for the new technology.

Where is free roaming in the rest of the Americas?

America is a continent that is still lagging behind in international roaming. The European Union has dropped the charges since 2017, and those who travel from one country to another that belongs to the economic bloc can access the internet, make calls or send SMS at the same local usage rates.

The agreement with Chile is a step forward, but other nations are expected to end tariffs. In 2018, 19 countries including Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, the United States, Canada and Mexico signed the Buenos Aires Charter, aiming to end roaming by 2022.

The document was signed by the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (Citel), whose objective was to reduce digital inequality in the countries of the Americas. Well, we’ve reached 2022 and we haven’t seen major moves in that direction.

The thing is, international roaming is expensive, especially if you use a prepaid or control plan. In these situations, it almost always pays to buy a SIM card from a local operator to use mobile internet abroad – but this requires the tourist to go to a point of sale, hire a plan, deal with documentation bureaucracy and interact in a different language.

Vivo and Claro have operations in Chile

Brazil has two operators that are subsidiaries of parent companies that also operate in Chile with cell phone service.

Vivo is an operator of the Spanish group Telefónica, which also operates in Chile under the Movistar brand. According to 2020 data, the Chilean subsidiary was the market leader with a 25% share.

Claro is under the umbrella of América Móvil, with subsidiaries in dozens of countries including Chile. In 2020, it ranked third in the mobile phone market with 22%.

On the other hand, TIM and Oi do not have sister operators in Chile. Likewise, there are two Chilean mobile operators that do not exist in Brazil: the market leader Entel and WOM.

Operators offer free roaming in Chile on postpaid

Some operators already include international roaming in their plans, but only in postpaid category. Those who use control or prepaid have to pay by the minute or megabyte, which ends up not being worth it.

all plans clear post currently sold include the Americas Passport, which allows using the Brazilian plan in Chile and 17 other countries on the continent. You can also extend coverage to more locations with the Europe Passport or World Passport, sold separately.

Likewise, all current postpaid plans from Vivo include unlimited roaming nights in countries in the Americas. It is possible to use up to 1 GB of internet per day, depending on the destination, as well as 50 minutes of local calls or calls to Brazil.

Some postpaid plans TIM Black also include international roaming in the Americas. The mechanics are a little different, because it only includes a daily internet allowance. Anyone who wants to make calls must pay R$2.49 per minute.

 

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