BNamericas, quoting local daily La Republica, reports that Uruguay’s state-owned telco Antel is preparing to formally accuse cellco CTI Movil of unfair practices. Antel is preparing documents to back up its case and expects to submit them to the telecoms regulator URSEC in the next few weeks, Antel president Maria Simon was quoted as saying. She claims that CTI Movil, a unit of Mexico’s America Movil, is operating at below the true commercial cost of its services, which is illegal. This also means that CTI’s claims that its rates are the lowest in the country amount to false advertising. If URSEC confirms that CTI Movil is using false advertising, it may ban the cellco’s marketing campaigns and impose sanctions. Earlier this year CTI cut its rates by 23% in a move to attract subscribers from rival operators Ancel (incumbent Antel’s mobile arm) and Movistar, owned by Spanish telco Telefonica.
According to one consultant, CTI is offering a unique rate. ‘The company does not differentiate between peak and off-peak hours. So at peak hours the rate could indeed be low compared to the other mobile operators,’ said Carlos Blanco of Signals Telecoms Consultancy. However, he believes that Uruguayan law does allow marketing campaigns that make comparisons with other companies.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, CTI Movil ended June 2007 with close to 600,000 subscribers. It is predicting 900,000 by the end of the year.