Bolivian president threatens to nationalise Viva and Tigo

1 Oct 2013

Bolivian president Evo Morales is said to have threatened mobile network operators Telecel, which offers services under the Tigo banner, and NuevaTel PCS (Viva) with nationalisation, after accusing the pair of failing to cooperate with criminal investigations. According to Terra, citing comments made by the head of state at a speech in Santa Cruz, Morales is said to have claimed that, while state-owned Entel Movil is quick to respond to police requests for information in kidnapping or robbery cases, the same was not true for the two private operators. As such, President Morales suggested that criminals were turning to Viva and Tigo in the knowledge of this slower response, and while he said that the cellcos were not complicit in the crimes themselves, he did argue that the duo are obliged to offer immediate assistance to the authorities. No specific cases were, however, mentioned.

The report meanwhile cites local telecoms regulator La Autoridad de Telecomunicaciones y Transportes (ATT) as saying that there are around 4.4 million mobile subscriptions that are either no longer active or have no details registered for them. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in November 2009 the ATT revealed that new proposals for all wireless subscribers to be registered were on the way after having been given a 15 day deadline to formulate and publish the legislation by the government. On publication of the new rules, known as Decree 353, operators were given until February 2010 to ensure that all subscribers had registered their numbers, but a month after the announced cut-off date, it was revealed that the deadline had been pushed back to May 2010. The ATT said that the reason behind the extension was to enable those users in rural regions to register, while network operators were at that time advised to take proactive action to obtain the necessary details from subscribers in such areas. As of 14 March 2010 approximately 65% of Bolivia’s mobile users had registered their details, and just over two months later, in May 2010, the ATT said that, with around 87% of subscribers having registered their details at that date, it expected the figure to rise to 90% by the end of the month. The registration deadline passed on 31 May 2010, following which the ATT confirmed that around 95% of users had successfully registered their phones.

Bolivia, Autoridad de Telecomunicaciones y Transportes (ATT), NuevaTel PCS (Viva), Tigo Bolivia