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BRASILIA, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Brazil's government expects to send Congress a bill to overhaul telecommunications rules in the first quarter of next year, Communications Minister Andre Figueiredo Lima said on Monday, responding to industry demands.
More modern regulation is needed for the consolidation of the local telecommunications industry and for local carriers to bolster investment in the sector, industry executives have said recently.
The chief executive of Telecom Italia, the controlling shareholder of local carrier TIM Participacoes SA, said on Oct. 27 that a merger with competitor Oi SA hinges on Brazil changing those rules.
Billionaire Mikhail Fridman's LetterOne Group has vowed to invest $4 billion in Oi, should that company, Brazil's No. 4 mobile carrier, combine with TIM.
Minister Figueiredo Lima launched public consultations on Monday to seek input to draft the new bill, which he says could be approved in 2016.
An ongoing rift between the government of President Dilma Rousseff and its wide-ranging alliance in Congress is likely, however, to complicate the approval of any new legislation, analysts say. (Reporting by Cesar Raizer; Writing by Alonso Soto; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)