China’s Huawei denies report it plans to buy Brazilian carrier Oi

Li Tao

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies has denied a local media report that it plans to acquire Brazilian carrier Oi SA in partnership with China Mobile.

“Huawei has no plans or interest to acquire Oi or any other Brazilian carrier. With more than 20 years in Brazil, the company works with all the major Brazilian operators,” Huawei said in a statement on Monday.

On Saturday the O Globo news website reported that Huawei would join forces with China Mobile to buy Oi to boost its footprint in Latin America’s largest market.

The report said the Chinese companies expect significant growth in business once Brazil introduces 5G wireless technology and that Oi’s 360,000 kilometres of optical fibre infrastructure was considered an attractive asset.

“The company continued to accelerate investments in fibre in order to deliver high-speed broadband to our customers’ homes and provide a better experience, advancing the strategy in order to increase profitability in the segment,” Oi said in its second quarter earnings report.

Brazil will not bar Huawei from 5G network, vice-president says

Founded in 1998 as Telemar, Brazil’s largest fixed-line carrier has been trying to revive its business since filing for bankruptcy protection in June 2016. In the second quarter of 2019, Oi reported a net loss of R$1,625 million (US$392 million) compared to R$766 million profit in the first quarter.

In June, Brazilian vice-president Hamilton Mourao said his government would not exclude Huawei from operating 5G mobile telecoms network in the country. Mourao had met Huawei chairman and CEO Ren Zhengfei on a trip to China the month before.

Mourao told Valor Economico newspaper that there was no distrust of the Chinese company within the Brazilian government and that Brazil needed the technology it had to offer.

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