Claro, Movistar fined USD1.6bn for breach of mobile licence contracts

28 Jul 2017

Colombia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (MinTIC) has announced that an arbitration court has ordered Claro and Telefonica (Movistar) to pay a combined COP4.81 trillion (USD1.6 billion) for failing to meet the conditions of their respective mobile operating concessions. Under the terms of their original 1994 licences, the pair were required to return wireless network infrastructure to the state after a ten-year period, which was subsequently extended for a further ten years. According to Reuters, new contracts were later drawn up eliminating the return of the networks, but these were overruled by another legal authority that argued that the original contract could not be modified.

The tribunal has now ruled that mobile market leader Claro is required to pay COP3.16 trillion, while its smaller rival Movistar has been fined COP1.65 trillion. The MinTIC states that the fines are equivalent to the value of all ‘goods, elements, equipment and infrastructure necessary for the provision of the service concessioned to the date of contract completion in November 2013’. Claro’s Mexican parent America Movil (AM) issued a statement saying it is ‘currently reviewing the legal alternatives with respect to the arbitration award’.