Claro Brasil launches plan with 'free' WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter

Monday, June 15, 2015

América Móvil's wireless carrier Claro Brasil has launched a nationwide promotion offering all its customers free access to the three most-used social networks – Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.

Claro Brasil clients who opt to sign up for the Promoção Internet Turbinada will not be charged for data used to access these applications. The benefit is available to all types of clients – prepaid, postpaid or "controle" controlled plan customers – and data plans.

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The promotion marks another chapter in the fight for clients, as operators announce zero rating deals whenever they can, as Brazilians appetite for consumption seems to be slowing down.

Claro is the first local operator to remove charges simultaneously for all three applications.

TIM used to offer free access to Facebook and Twitter, while Oi had only Twitter. Vivo is the only major operator openly not interested in zero rating offers with major OTT. Nextel Brasil also downplays the model.

The practice is controversial as it could contravene network neutrality legislation.

According to Claro, neither Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, or Twitter are paying for the free access. In a press conference to announce the service this Monday (June 15), Claro Brasil CEO Carlos Zenteno (pictured) said the deal does not include WhatsApp voice calls, to avoid "cannibalization" of its own voice services.

In November, Twitter director of business development for Latin America, Daniel Carvalho, stressed to Brazilian reporters that the company paid nothing nothing to operators in such cases and defended the zero rating model, arguing it was not in opposition to net neutrality.