Telefónica moves to annul ruling to return spectrum

20 May 2005

Telefónica Móviles’ Chilean division Movistar Chile has lodged an appeal with the supreme court in an attempt to cancel a requirement to return wireless spectrum gained via the merger between Telefónica Móvil de Chile and BellSouth Chile. The country’s antimonopoly tribunal, the TDLC, approved the merger in January on the condition that Movistar Chile sells a portion of the concessions it holds for mobile frequencies within 18 months. Specifically, the TDLC stipulated that it must return 25MHz of spectrum through a public auction organised by the regulator Subtel. Before the merger Telefónica Móvil de Chile held 25MHz in the 800MHz band and 20MHz in the 1900MHz band, while BellSouth Chile had 25MHz in the 800MHz band and 10MHz in the 1900MHz band. Movistar’s CEO, Oliver Flögel, has protested that the TDLC’s decision was based on there being no remaining available spare spectrum, an assertion he holds to be false. The court is currently hearing arguments from all parties concerned and is expected to make a judgement in the next few weeks.