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For about 75 years up to the sixties, nearly all telecommunications services in the country were in private hands, distributed among hundreds of local operators. Telephony authorizations were issued and controlled by the state governments. In this process Companhia Telefônica Brasileira (CTB, a subsidiary of the Canadian company Brazilian Traction) emerged as a major operator of local and long-distance services in the majority of the larger Brazilian cities, covering about 80% of the telephone terminals in the country.
CTB shared the market in these cities with Companhia Telefônica Nacional, CTN, an ITT3 subsidiary. The remaining cities and towns were covered by small local operators in extremely precarious situations.