WOM demands return of excess spectrum

19 Oct 2018

UK-owned cellular challenger WOM has asked the Antitrust Tribunal (Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia, TDLC) for incumbents Movistar, Claro and Entel to return spectrum that had been allocated in excess of the allowed spectrum cap, La Tercera writes. WOM argues that the trio have not complied with a Supreme Court ruling from June this year, which confirmed that in bidding for 700MHz band frequencies the three cellcos had not respected the 60MHz spectrum cap and ordered them to return airwaves so that they were in compliance with the regulations. The apex court decision added that if the regulatory authorities felt that the 60MHz limit was no longer necessary, it would need to lift or remove that cap through a consultation process with the TDLC. Indeed, the Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel) sent an updated spectrum plan to the antitrust watchdog earlier this month. WOM has complained, however, that the incumbents have gone against the ‘natural meaning’ of the Supreme Court’s judgement, interpreting the decision as conditional on the ongoing consultation between Subtel and the TDLC to ‘avoid compliance with the sanction imposed by the Supreme Court’. To that end, WOM has demanded that the trio relinquish the spectrum, and that Subtel enforce the court’s sanctions by taking any necessary measures.