Chilean mobile provider WOM has negotiated an extension to a roaming agreement that allowed it to utilise the network or rival operator Entel Chile – including its 700MHz LTE system – to offer its services in areas not covered by its own network. According to Wayerless.com, the new deal was signed at the eleventh hour, following a number of extensions to their previous deal, but WOM has complained that the prices set by Entel are too high and reiterated its call for the regulator to reallocate the frequencies in the 700MHz band.
La Tercera writes, meanwhile, that in mid-2011 WOM (then known as Nextel Chile) had signed a national roaming agreement with Entel to help improve its coverage as it entered the wireless market. Following a change of ownership at the cellco in January 2015, in September that year WOM inked a new agreement with Claro with the intention of ending its deal with Entel by the end 2015. In the event, however, the pact remained in place throughout 2016 and was due to expire earlier this year, but a temporary extension was agreed by the two players until 31 May, with a more permanent deal only being reached at the end of May. Whilst neither party can confirm details of the agreement due to its confidentiality, sources close to WOM claimed that it had been compelled to reach an agreement with Entel, despite the reportedly high price set by the cellco, as large numbers of WOM’s customers would be affected should the pair end their partnership. On that basis, WOM had sought intervention from the regulator on the matter, though it remains unclear what impact the watchdog’s involvement had. Indeed, a senior Entel official told the press that the matter did not require negotiation, as Entel had openly offered roaming agreements to providers that had missed out in the controversial 700MHz auction.
In a related development, WOM inked a roaming agreement with the nation’s other mobile network operator, Spanish-owned Movistar Chile, earlier this month. As such, WOM now has access to the mobile networks of all three of its larger rivals. In statement, WOM said of the deal: ‘WOM is focused on continuing to deploy its own network throughout Chile, but also has roaming partners to serve more Chileans.’