Vésper has closed the first ?bill and keep? deal in the Brazilian local telephony market. The agreement signed with Telefonica applies to São Paulo State and exempts both carriers from paying local interconnect rate to each other. ?The deal makes life easier for both companies and reduces costs,? says Francisco de Assis Barbosa, vice president of Vésper for institutional relations. ?We no longer need to meter calls or send Telefonica traffic breakdowns or vice-versa.? After months of negotiations with Telefonica, Vésper finally signed the agreement in mid-August. Mr Barbosa declined to disclose details of the deal. Vésper has approached Telemar with a similar proposal and plans to negotiate with Embratel and Intelig when they begin delivering local service. Under Anatel?s rules, if more than 55% of a local carrier?s traffic goes to another local carrier, local interconnect rates (TU-RL) must be paid on calls exceeding that threshold. Because of this rule new local entrants try to achieve a balance between inbound and outbound traffic by signing up customers who receive more calls than they originate, such as ISPs, for example.