TDLC throws out 700MHz spectrum hoarding case

30 Jul 2015

Chilean anti-trust tribunal, the Court of Defence of Free Competition (TDLC, Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia) has rejected a case brought by consumer lobby group the National Corporation of Consumers and Users (Conadecus, Corporacion Nacional de Consumidores y Usuarios) against cellcos Entel, Movistar and Claro for alleged spectrum hoarding. Conadecus sought to challenge the allocation of 700MHz band frequencies to the trio, on the basis that the additional frequencies would give the operators more than a maximum of 60MHz set by the Supreme Court in 2009. According to the group, the nation’s mobile providers sought to hoard spectrum and thereby restrict competition in order to keep prices artificially high.

In its ruling, the TDLC said that the lobby group had no legal standing to take action in the matter, having failed to explain how the individual or collective interests of consumers could be affected immediately and directly by the cellcos’ behaviour. Further, the court accused Conadecus of ‘pretending to exercise functions that the law has expressly given to the National Economic Prosecutor (FNE, Fiscalia Nacional Economica).’ Under the terms of the decision, Conadecus was instructed to cover legal costs.