Brazil’s biggest mobile operator Brasilcel has said that it expects to complete the acquisition of central-west region operator Tele Centro Oeste Celular Participaçoes (TCO) by 7 January. The sale was initially expected to have been completed on 22 December, but opposition to the deal from TCO’s minority shareholders has led to it being postponed by two weeks. Brasilcel is a 50/50 joint venture between European heavyweights Telefónica of Spain and Portugal Telecom. It amalgamates both parents’ mobile subsidiaries in Brazil, the original four being mobile holding companies Telesp Celular Participaçoes, Tele Leste Celular Participaçoes, Tele Sudeste Celular Participaçoes and Celular CRT Participaçoes. It operates under the brand name Vivo in 19 states as well as the Brasilia federal district, covering around seven million square kilometres – 86% of the total country – and 75% of the population. At the end of June 2003 the operator reported a total customer base of 17.5 million, and an average market share of 59% in its operating regions, up from 41% six months earlier.
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