By Lucy Jordan, Contributing Reporter

BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – The Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (National Telecommunications Agency, ANATEL) has suspended Brazilian mobile phone providers TIM, Claro and Oi from selling new telephone lines in states throughout the country effective Monday, due to high rates of customer complaints. In each state, the company with the highest number of complaints will be prohibited from sales, according to a statement on ANATEL’s website.

João Bastista Rezende, president of ANATEL, suspends sales of TIM, Claro and Oi in eighteen Brazil States, Brazil News
João Bastista Rezende, president of ANATEL, suspends sales of TIM, Claro and Oi in eighteen Brazil states, photo by Valter Campanato/ABr.

The three mobile telephone companies will have to submit an investment plan that tackle issues of customer service and quality, the statement read. If ANATEL approves the plan, the suspension will be lifted. Together, TIM, Claro and Oi make up seventy percent of the market in Brazil.

This is the first time a measure of this scope has been taken. If the businesses do not comply with the ruling, they will be fined R$200,000 a day, the statement added.

With a moratorium on sales in eighteen states and the Federal District, TIM is the most heavily affected of the three firms. Oi is prohibited from sales in five states, while Claro’s suspension extends to three.

Three further mobile telephone companies, Vivo, CTBC e Sercomtel, also have to submit a plan, although they are not prohibited from sales.

In a statement, TIM said the measure seemed “extreme” and “disproportionate,” and it “will take all necessary measures to restore normality to their activities as soon as possible,” Estadao reported.

Globo reported that shares in TIM had plunged 8.77 percent to R$8.63 on the Bovespa by close Thursday. Reverberations were felt in Italy, with TIM’s parent company Telecom Italia dropping 7.06 percent on the Milan Stock Exchange. Stocks in Oi were not adversely affected, with shares in the company rising 1.46 percent to R$11.06.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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