According to a report by Business News Americas, Argentina’s antitrust agency, the National Commission for the Defense of Competition (CNDC), has determined that Telecom Italia’s (TI) indirect stake in the country’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, Telecom Argentina, violates antitrust legislation and will force the Italian firm to sell its holding in the cellco. The CNDC has found that a conflict of interest has arisen as Telefonica, parent company of Argentina’s leading mobile operator, also has a significant stake in TI. CNDC official Humberto Guardia Mendonca said: ‘We have found that the operation affects competition.’ TI has been given one year to divest itself of Telecom Argentina to prevent Telefonica from controlling the sector.
In April 2009 CommsUpdate reported that the CNDC had ruled that TI’s directors should be stripped of their voting powers in Telecom Argentina. However, in July TI successfully appealed the decision in an Argentine court, allowing the telco to again exercise its voting rights.