Brazil's Anatel puts kibosh on forced phone/data bundling

Brazil's service providers will no longer be able to require customers to buy a phone line if they buy a broadband service.

Anatel, Brazil's telecom regulator, said they have taken "precautionary measures" against the country's dominant service providers Telefonica (NYSE: TEF), Telemar (Sao Paolo: TMAR5.SA), GVT, CTBC and Brasil Telecom (NYSE: BTM), mandating they no longer market as part of a dual-play phone/data bundle. Even though Brazil's Code of Consumer Protection vetoed 'bundling,' these service providers continued to market their services this way. Any service provider that violates Anatel's rules could face up to $14.3 million in fines.

Allowing consumers to buy standalone broadband service is not an issue relegated to Brazil. A similar fight took place earlier this century between the U.S.-based RBOCs and regulators over selling standalone "naked DSL" to consumers. Led initially by Qwest (NYSE: Q) and progressive independent ILECs such as Warwick Valley Telephone, eventually all of the major broadband providers began offering a "naked DSL" service offering that did not require the consumer to purchase a phone line.

For more:
- Telecompaper has this article

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