Porta told to raise licence bid for third time

21 Apr 2008

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has told America Movil (AM) that it must raise an ‘insufficient’ second bid to renew its mobile operating licence in the country or else he will launch an international auction for the concession, according to Associated Press. ‘The first offer they presented us was a real insult to our intelligence. The second isn’t as bad, but it’s still far from what the concession is really worth,’ Correa said in his weekly radio address, without revealing the amount the Mexican group had offered. Negotiations between the government and AM, which offers services locally via subsidiary Conecel (Porta), have been ongoing since February, and the cellco’s licence expires in August. Porta’s smaller rival Movistar, the Ecuadorian unit of Spain’s Telefonica, has agreed to pay USD220 million for a new 15-year 2G/3G licence, and Correa has said the two contracts are worth a combined USD700 million. Movistar plans to invest USD400 million in Ecuador in the next few years, on top of around USD1.2 billion spent since 2004, the company’s chairman, Cesar Alierta, said last week after meeting with Correa.