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It is very likely that the Brazilian parliament will stop the controversial bill banning commercial communications from telecom services (including A2P Messaging, robocalls and USSD menus). The bill had been approved by the ‘Justice Commission’, and no plenary discussion was requested in the following 5 sessions of the House of Representative.

Hence, by the 19th of June the bill was set to make its way  to the Senate as by the standard procedure. However, an appeal has now been lodged on the 2nd of July by the Member of Parliament, Eros Biondini (PROS party). The appeal will now go through the system, slowing the implementation; if granted, the bill will be discussed by the House of Representative in a plenary session. MEF understands that  now the lower house will effectively withdraw, alter, or replace it with a new one

A2P Stop in Brazil: what had happened?

On the 6th of June 2019, the Brazilian Congress approved the Bill of Law 757/03 that forbids mobile operators to send any kind of “commercial messages” to its customers in the Brazilian territory. If the bill had also been approved by Senate it would have the effect to stop all A2P communications. Bill 757/03 had been approved conclusively by the Commission for Constitution and Justice and Citizenship of the House, and it  gave the Senate the ability to vote without full discussion at the lower House of Representatives. There’s no definition on what should be considered a “commercial message”, meaning telecom operators could be required to block any communications with consumers that relate to a business relationship. Mobile Marketing, A2P and any kinds of communications amongst brands/business and its end users would have been blocked. SMS, SatPush (USSD menu) and RCS would have been impacted immediately. The Bill was to be finalized for approval by the Senate in the following months where it could have been changed, improved or rejected completely.

A fast and consistent response

The industry response has had a large support in Brazil and from international players; it gave a swift and precise description of a the problems that a complete ban on A2P traffic would create.  MEF board member for Latin America, Rafael Pellon, channelled the industry concerns in Brasilia and in the press, MEF highlighted the existence of specific and effective tools to avoid SPAM for consumers globally. MEF and its members are supporting the fight that unwanted promotional messages and have published multiple reports on how to reduce spam in SMS: from code of conducts for self-regulation to the analysis of technical solutions for anti-spam. The ecosystems has got solutions to offer for the problem of SPAM.

The Universality of SMS is still safe

The SMS claim to universal coverage was at risk. Brazil is a large economy with 209 million inhabitants. Enterprises can still assume that SMS is the only communication tool to be universally accepted. Al mobile users are reachable, something that no one of the OTT platforms an offer given the fragmentation of the OTT solutions  geographically at limited reach for non-smartphone users.

Dario Betti