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Rip up telco red-tape so they can take on Viber, WhatsApp, says Brazil

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MWC 2014 Brazil's communications minister says the country is looking at a new telecommunications regulatory regime, to take into account the rise of services like Viber and WhatsApp.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress, minister Paulo Bernardo said the quality-of-service requirements placed on incumbents (Telefonica, Embratel and Hi) is preventing them from responding to the rise of the over-the-top (OTT) services.

Bernardo said the government regulator, Anatel, has now been briefed to examine an update to Brazil's telecommunications regulation. A Spanish-language report, here, says Skype had already changed the service landscape.

With Viber and WhatsApp expanding consumer options even further, he said, carriers should be allowed to offer alternative services that don't have to meet the quality-of-service goals.

Brazil is also preparing to auction 700 MHz band spectrum for 4G services. Bernardo said the tender is being delayed while the government negotiates compensation for broadcasters who have to vacate their bands.

Neither this year's presidential election in Brazil, nor the FIFA World Cup to be staged in June or July, should delay the auction process, he said.

Bernardo damped down expectations that the auction would raise US$12 billion, saying that US$7.5 billion is a more reasonable estimate. ®

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