A new virtual operator is coming: Algar has signed an agreement with TIM to become an authorized MVNO and offer mobile services in Brazil. The company already operates as a cell phone company in some cities in Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul.
By purchasing Oi Móvel, Anatel forced Claro, TIM and Vivo to create public wholesale reference offers (ORPA) for the creation of virtual mobile operators. The agency also forced telecoms to provide a public price for national roaming.
Algar’s agreement was signed three days after Anatel’s approval of TIM’s MVNO offer. According to Mario Girasole, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Italian operator, the contract was based on the new mandatory wholesale offer.
The commercialization of services from Algar’s new MVNO has not yet been released, as Anatel needs to grant regulatory approvals and grant the new operator.
But who is Algar?
Algar Telecom may not be strong in the telecommunications market for individuals, as its performance as a mobile operator is restricted to the Triângulo Mineiro and parts of Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul and São Paulo. Tele has 1.6% of the Brazilian cellular telephony market, with around 754 thousand customers.
Despite the limited performance with cell phones, Algar has a presence in 16 Brazilian states with a focus on companies. The operator offers data solutions (such as fiber optic broadband or dedicated link), voice and IT services.
Even without having its own mobile network at the national level, Algar sold Internet of Things data packages throughout Brazil, using the network of other operators. The product, which was able to connect to Claro, Oi, TIM and Vivo towers, was questioned by operators about its legality, since Anatel prohibits permanent roaming.
Will Algar be available to individuals?
In the press release, TIM and Algar do not clarify the business objective of the new virtual operation. The mining company already acted as accredited MVNOunder Surf Telecom, but never sold services to individuals outside areas with its own network.
Without Oi Móvel in the market, it would be interesting if Algar sold cell phone plans to individuals. The packages sold in Uberlândia (MG) are very good: the simplest plan, 10 GB, costs R$ 39.90 per month, but there is an unlimited option with a monthly fee of R$ 156.50.
We have yet to find out what the limitations of an MVNO are to offer aggressive plans. In its reference offer, TIM charges BRL 0.0044 for each megabyte traffic, which can be reduced to up to BRL 0.00253, depending on the accumulated amount of data or revenue commitment.