Telcos to end throttled mobile web connections in Brazil

Changes in the mobile web charging model will be implemented to allow offer of new services

Telecommunications companies in Brazil are planning to end throttled mobile Internet connections and introduce additional fees to users that go over the limit of their data plans.

Currently, mobile data connections in Brazil are slowed down when usage exceeds data allowances. But service providers in Brazil are now deciding that ending the limited data connection speeds makes the most sense.

The largest telco in Brazil, Telefónica Vivo, will be the first to implement the changes in its pre-paid offering and has plans to migrate its contract customers to the same model soon after.

From November 6, the company will start selling prepaid packages whereby users get a text message when they reach 80 percent of their limit and another when the allowance ends. Users will then prompted to purchase a new 50MB package, which will cost R$2.99 ($1.18) for 7 days.

Other telco giants in Brazil such as Oi and TIM have said they are considering the end of mobile web speed throttling and the introduction of overage fees and extra data plans, but have not announced specific plans to do so.

Users are not happy about the changes in the charging model, since that effectively means telcos will be unilaterally altering contracts where there is an expectation of service continuity.

Consumer rights association Proteste will present an injunction to Brazilian telecoms agency Anatel, on the basis that the changes will impact lower-income users and that the introduction of the changes would be a backward move in terms of the government's overall digital inclusion plans.

Anatel has so far requested that telcos inform customers about the changes, at least a month before they come into effect. But the body also informed that the changes in the charging model are "within the sector rules."

The predicted growth in mobile data traffic in Brazil is four times greater than the forecast for fixed data traffic for the next five years. A hefty 11-fold increase is predicted for mobile data traffic in the country between 2013 and 2018, reaching 440 petabytes per month by the end of the period, according to research by Cisco.

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