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May 27, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:26pm

BRAZIL SET TO BREAK UP PHONE COMPANY INTO REGIONAL UNITS

By CBR Staff Writer

The Brazilian government looks set to break up Telebras Ltd, the state’s phone company, into four regional unit for privatization by 1999 (CI No 2,983). The sale could net the government $35bn and attract investment of up $100bn for the next six years. Unlike earlier privatizations, which prompted popular opposition, ministers believe that this one should be a straight-forward affair as customers are well aware of its deficiencies. Brazil holds the non-enviable record of being the Latin American country with the lowest telephone use. It has 9.3 lines per 100 people compared with an average of 13.6 in the continent. Roberto Peon, president for Latin America at BellSouth, the US telecommunications company, said Brazil was the market with the highest development potential. The privatization process got underway last month when bids for 10 regional cellular phone concessions were collected. One bidding group include AT&T Corp, Airtouch Communications Inc, BellSouth Corp and Stet of Italy. Results are scheduled to be disclosed during next month.

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