Brazil antitrust regulator approves Vivo-Claro network sharing

RIO DE JANEIRO Fri May 10, 2013 3:00pm EDT

RIO DE JANEIRO May 10 (Reuters) - Brazil's antitrust watchdog approved on Friday a wireless network sharing partnership between America Movil's Claro and Telefonica's Vivo, a deal that will help both carriers save costs while building their next-generation networks.

Brazil's Cade said the companies' plans to share part of their backhaul network and transmission sites do not affect consumers, since other operations and commercial activities will remain separate, according to the regulator's report.

Telefonica Brasil SA, the Spanish group's local unit, is Brazil's biggest mobile carrier, while Claro ranks third in terms of subscribers.

The country's phone companies face a challenging investment scenario for the next few years, as they need to improve their third-generation (3G) networks while building out new 4G infrastructure ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Telecom Italia's TIM ParticipaƧoes SA and rival Oi SA started their 4G network partnership in late April, aiming at reducing construction costs. All four companies have already begun offering 4G services in Brazil.

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