Vésper announced Tuesday, September 24, that Anatel has withdrawn an injunction preventing the sale of Vésper Portátil. However, the portable service can be sold only in areas where Vésper installs a system to restrict handset mobility based on switch software. Vésper is a CLEC licensed to operate fixed-line service in Regions 1 and 3. It uses WLL for the last mile. Before the cessation order Vésper Portátil closely resembled a mobile service including handoff between base stations.
Vésper now plans to comply with Anatel?s order, adapting its network gradually and resuming sales of the portable service only in cities where the required adjustment has been made. A service area comprising a set of transmitter stations will have to be delimited for each customer. Switch software will identify each user and block the service for any who are off limits. The rule applies to existing subscribers, who have been using the service without restrictions, as well as new adds. Vésper Portátil has some 90,000 customers. The CLEC has a subscriber base of 500,000 all told. The plan is to complete installation of the new system for all subscribers within 180 days. Campinas will be the first city to have it, probably in a week or two. São Paulo, the largest city in its service area, will be covered in 60 days.
Luiz Kaufmann, CEO of Vésper, recognizes that there will be losses to the portable service?s customer base but says all users were asked to sign a contract specifying that handset mobility was limited to their own premises. ?Moreover, until we complete the change in all cities we may even offer PCS as an alternative,? he says. Anatel Resolution 314 allows secondary use of the 1900 MHz band for mobile telephony provided the carrier acquires a mobile license. Mr Kaufmann says the controlling shareholders haven?t decided whether to bid for D and E band leftovers in the auction scheduled for October. They?re evaluating the extent to which the cost of new licenses would impact the business and are very likely to opt for this solution, he says.