Expectations of major investment in PCS buildout by Brasil Telecom are starting to cool. Equipment vendors fear that even if Telecom Italia doesn't rejoin the block of controlling shareholders, enabling BrT to enter the wireless segment, the two groups could agree to share networks. Telecom Italia is already testing such an arrangement with Telecom Americas, with Siemens as intermediary. They see this as another sign that BrT will go for GSM, although its choice of technology hasn't yet been officially announced.
The association would be good for BrT, since Telecom Italia Mobile's network covers most major cities in Region 2 (19 states in the South, Center-West and North plus the Federal District), while TIM could use BrT's networks in areas not yet reached satisfactorily by its GSM platform. The sharing arrangement would make sense at a time of capex retrenchment like the present. And it would enable TIM, which so far has only 444,000 customers, and BrT to compete more effectively against Vivo and Telecom Americas, already off to a head start as consolidated groups.
Equipment vendors say such a network sharing arrangement is technically feasible but may not succeed in operational and marketing terms. It could create confusion as to who owns the customer, for example. Again, they doubt that one operator add exclusive new services while the other uses the same infrastructure without changing its offering.