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Telefonica Brasil sees positive trend for revenue as prices rise

(Adds details, analyst comments and share performance)

By Gabriela Mello

SAO PAULO, May 9 (Reuters) - Brazilian wireless carrier Telefonica Brasil expects rising prices to keep revenue on a positive track this year even as competition in Latin America's largest market grows, Chief Executive Christian Gebara said on Thursday.

In April, the carrier operating under the brand Vivo started lifting prices in the pre-paid segment after years of stagnation, he said, adding the company had previously adjusted prices in post-paid and control plans last year.

"We see a positive trend in revenues despite competitive and macroeconomic factors that can affect results," Gebara told journalists in a call after the company reported first-quarter earnings that beat market expectations.

"Brazil needs more investments and network coverage, which demands a rational approach towards prices, and Vivo is making this move," he added.

Gebara also said long-awaited economic reforms by the Brazilian government should open room to new investment opportunities in the country. For now, the local subsidiary of Spain's Telefonica is focused on expanding its FTTH network, as well as 4G and 4.5G coverage in Brazil.

"And we intend to participate in 5G auction if the schedule set for March 2020 is maintained," he said.

Telefonica Brasil posted a 22.2 percent rise in first-quarter net income, outperforming its rival TIM Participações.

Vivo shares were trading 1.5 percent up early on Thursday at 46.45 reais, among the best performers on the Ibovespa stock index, which was down 1.9 percent.

Analysts at Itaú BBA said in a note to clients that better revenue in mobile services and broadband were a positive highlight in the first quarter. (Reporting by Gabriela Mello Editing by Susan Thomas)