Embratel promises to start commercial delivery of local telephone service in October. In the meantime it will be negotiating interconnection agreements with other operators and performing trials to test the network, explains Purificación Carpinteyro, vice president for local services. Anatel granted Embratel permission to offer local service on August 8. The contract was signed this week. Embratel hasn?t abandoned the plans announced to diversify from long distance into local service, despite the economic crisis and its financial difficulties. Initially it will focus on the corporate segment, offering local service only in Brasília, Curitiba, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Salvador, and Recife. Marketing will start by concentrating on companies that are already customers, among which 80% are interested in local service according to company surveys. ?We will offer innovative solutions that add value to our services,? Ms Carpinteyro says, without disclosing details of the solutions in question. Prices can?t be disclosed yet either, she explains, because of their strategic importance to the launch program. A price war is out of the question, she says, admitting that lack of number of portability will be a barrier in the new market.