The post-privatization telecommunications model has been a success, said Antonio Carlos Valente, deputy director-general of Anatel, at a TELETIME seminar on telecoms policy in São Paulo June 20. Teledensity has risen sharply and prices are falling. The well-known economic difficulties in Brazil ? especially high interest rates and low growth ? are adverse, and the telecoms industry has problems of its own, such as a high rate of customer delinquencies. Nevertheless, talk of a crisis in the sector is misguided, he said. Mr Valente criticized the heavy tax burden on telecoms services, amounting to about 40% in his view. ?We?re undisputed world leaders when it comes to taxation,? he said, noting that state-collected sales tax (ICMS) is as high as 30% in some areas, comparable to the rates applied to cigarettes, alcohol and guns. That makes no sense in tax policy terms, he argued, calling on seminar attendees to lobby their state governments for a review of telecoms taxes.