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Telecommunications in Brazil

Telecommunications in Brazil
Brazil Orthographic Projection
Brazil Topics
Land line terminals 34 Millions (2T2009)[1]
Mobile phones 217 Millions (2T2009)[2]

Brazil has both modern technologies in the center-south portion, counting with 3G HSPA, DSL ISDB based Digital TV. Other areas of the country, particularly the north and north-west regions, lack even basic analog PSTN telephone lines. This is a problem that the government is trying to solve by linking the liberation of new technologies such as WiMax and FTTH) only tied with compromises on extension of the service to less populated regions.


  • Telephone system 1
    • Fixed line 1.1
    • Mobile 1.2
  • International backbones 2
    • Submarine cables 2.1
    • Satellite connections 2.2
  • Television and radio 3
  • Internet 4
  • References 5

Telephone system

Fixed line

The Brazilian fixed-line sector is fully open to competition and continues to attract operators. The bulk of the market is divided between four operators: Telefónica, América Móvil, Oi (controlled by Brazilian investors and Portugal Telecom), and GVT (owned by Vivendi). Telefonica operates through Telefonica Brasil, which has integrated its fixed-line and mobile services under the brand name Vivo. The América Móvil group in Brazil comprises long-distance incumbent Embratel, mobile operator Claro, and cable TV provider Net Serviços. The group has started to integrate its fixed and mobile services under the brand name Claro, previously used only for mobile services. Oi offers fixed line and mobile services under the Oi brand name. GVT is the country’s most successful alternative network provider, offering fixed-line services only.

Domestic: extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 64 earth stations.[3]

International: country code - 55; landing point for a number of submarine cables, including Atlantis 2, that provide direct links to South and Central America, the Caribbean, the US, Africa, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region east), connected by microwave relay system to Mercosur Brazilsat B3 satellite earth station (2007)[3]


  • Served locations: 37,355
  • Installed terminals: 43,626,836
  • In service: 33,800,370
  • Public terminals: 1,128,350
  • Density: 22,798 Phones/100 Hab


The history of mobile telephony in Brazil began on 30 December 1990, when the Cellular Mobile System began operating in the city of Rio de Janeiro, with a capacity for 10,000 terminals. At that time, according to Anatel (the national telecommunications agency), there were 667 devices in the country. The number of devices rose to 6,700 in the next year, to 30,000 in 1992. In November 2007 3G services were launched, and increased rapidly to almost 90% of the population in 2012 and the agreements signed as part of the auction specify a 3G coverage obligation of 100% of population by 2019. After the auction that took place in June 2012, LTE tests were undertaken in several cities, tourist locations and international conference venues.[5] The first LTE-compatible devices became available in the local market and LTE services was commercially launched in 2013. Under the 4G licence terms, operators were required to have commercial networks in all twelve state capitals which are acting as host cities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[6]

The mobile market is ruled by 4 companies:

  • Vivo Participacoes,a Brazilian joint-venture between Portugal Telecom and Spain's Telefonica, is the leading wireless company in Brazil.
  • TIM Brasil, controlled by Italian wireless giant TIM. It recently overcame Claro as the number two wireless company in Brazil.
  • Claro, ranks third in Brazilian wireless. It’s controlled by Carlos Slim’s America Movil (NYSE: AMX).
  • Oi, which is the largest landline company in Brazil, is the smallest wireless player of the four.


  • Number of devices: 161,922,375
  • Percentage of prepaid lines: 81.91%
  • Density: 84.61 phones/100 hab

Technology distribution[2]

Technology 2008 (Dec) 2009 (Jul)
Phone Number Month growth Annual growth
AMPS 11,546 6,240 0.00% -75 -45.96%
TDMA 1,153,580 541,802 0.33% -39,020 -53.03%
CDMA 12,732,287 9,527,796 5.88% -425,018 -25.17%
GSM 133,925,736 145,840,175 90.07% 2,497,642 8.90%
WCDMA 1,692,436 2,010,740 1.24% 107,710 -
CDMA 2000 452,816 218,166 0.13% -9,994 -
Data Terminals 673,002 3,777,456 2.28% 177,623 -
Total 150,641,403 161,922,375 100.00% 2,308,868 10.00%

International backbones

Submarine cables

Several submarine cables link Brazil to the world:[7]

  • Americas II cable entered operations on September 2000, connecting Brazil (Fortaleza) to United States.
  • ATLANTIS-2, with around 12 thousand kilometers in extension, operating since 2000, it connects Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Natal) to Europe, Africa and South America. This is the only cable that connects South America to Africa and Europe.
  • EMERGIA – SAM 1 cable connects all three Americas, surrounding it with a total extension of more than 25 thousand kilometers.
  • GLOBAL CROSSING - SAC Connects all Americas, surrounding them with a total extension of more than 15 thousand kilometers.
  • GLOBENET/360 NETWORK Another link from North America to South America.
  • UNISUR Interconnects Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

All these cables have a bandwidth from 20 Gbit/s to 80 Gbit/s, and some have a projected final capacity of more than 1 Tbit/s.

Satellite connections

List of business and satellites they operate (Brazilian Geostationary Satellites)[8]
Satellite operator Satellite Bands Orbital positions Operational
Hispamar Amazonas 1 C e Ku 61,0º W Yes
Amazonas 2
Loral Skynet Estrela do Sul 1 Ku 63,0º W Yes
Estrela do Sul 2 Ku 63,0º W No
Star One Brasilsat B1 C and X 70,0º W Yes
Brasilsat B2 C and X 65,0º W Yes
Brasilsat B3 C 84,0º W Yes
Brasilsat B4 C 92,0º W Yes
Star One C1 C and Ku 65,0º W Yes
Star One C2 C and Ku 70,0º W Yes
Star One C3 C and Ku 75,0º W No
Star One C4 C,L,S 75,0º W No
Star One C5 C and Ku 68,0º W No

Television and radio

Under the Brazilian constitution, television and radio are not treated as telecommunication ways to avoid creating problems with a series of regulations that reduce and control how international businesses and persons participate on it. It is worth mentioning that Brazil has the 2nd biggest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue, Rede Globo.


The Internet has become quite popular in Brazil, with steadily growing numbers in adhesion and availability, with numbers that position Brazil at the 6th spot on number of users.[9] Many technologies are actually used to bring broadband Internet to consumers, with DSL and its variants being the most used, and 3G technologies. 4G technologies were introduced in April 2013 but with limited range, being compatible with only a few smartphones models. [10]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b The World Factbook
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Claro testa 4G em Campos do Jordão-SP", 5.9.2012
  6. ^ "Rostelecom All four 4G licensees confirmed as having met end-2013 coverage deadline". Telegrography. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Brazil launches 4G wireless service with few smartphone options". 
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