Senator proposes nationalisation of mobile towers

14 Oct 2013

A Colombian senator has proposed the establishment of a state-backed tower company to manage the nation’s wireless tower infrastructure and lease capacity to operators, Reuters reports. Senator Juan Mario Laserna has argued that nationalising the country’s wireless tower assets would improve coverage and competition, as all operators would have access to all towers. Laserna has suggested the move as the 20-year operating licences of wireless providers Movistar and Claro are due to expire, commenting that: ‘Instead of renewing contracts we can make a great business for the state.’ A third operator, Millicom International Cellular’s (MIC’s) local unit Tigo, has recently renewed its operating licence for ten years, however, and any new legislation would need to alter that concession. The proposals are expected to be presented to Colombian lawmakers next week. Laserna added that ‘Having only one large network will optimize and significantly improve service, decrease costs and avoid dominance of the market.’