CPP stand-off gets ugly

14 Nov 2006

Mexican mobile operators Iusacell and Unefon, both owned by Grupo Salinas, have accused alternative fixed line operators Avantel, Alestra and Maxcom of fraud and appealed to telecoms regulator Cofetel to revoke their operating licences, according to BNamericas quoting local daily Reforma. The cellcos claim they have received domestic long-distance (DLD) calls connected by the trio routed as pre-paid international long-distance (ILD) cards, instead of the required 044 dial code. By classifying the calls as pre-paid cards the fixed line operators are not required to pay interconnect tariffs under the contentious calling party pays (CPP) system introduced this month. The cellcos claim they are being defrauded by as much as USD900,000 a month, but the telcos say they are merely bypassing the CPP process whilst legal appeals against the use of the system make their way through the courts. Cofetel will now investigate.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, CPP was introduced for all DLD calls from 4 November 2006 (delayed from 15 October). Alternative telcos Protel, Alestra, Avantel, Maxcom and Bestel teamed up to gain an injunction against introducing CPP for fixed DLD-to-mobile calling on the basis that mobile interconnect tariffs are much higher than those for fixed lines. The injunction will remain in place whilst the telcos and Cofetel negotiate changes to interconnect tariffs. Other operators, including Telmex, Telefonos del Noroeste, Telcel, Iusacel, Iusatel, Baja Celular, Telefonia Celular del Norte, Portatel del Sureste, Telecomunicaciones del Golfo and Unefon, all introduced CPP on the date specified.