Telefonica Venezuela (Movistar) has offered journalists a glimpse into the challenges it faces in continuing to operate in the crisis-stricken South American nation, which include soaring inflation, capped prices and a communications system decimated by rolling blackouts. An article by Bloomberg quotes company president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zarco, as saying that Venezuelan mobile prices are now amongst the cheapest in the world. Rodriguez said that the company has no plans to leave Venezuela but is in constant need of help from its Spanish parent company in order to continue operating. The executive told the news agency: ‘We are not on the verge of a collapse, but each time [a cell tower is stolen] we are going to compromise more quality.’
536 of Movistar’s cell towers have been dismantled and stolen to be sold in 2018 alone, Zarco noted. When factoring in the network assets of rivals Movilnet and Digitel, the report notes that 2,000 of the country’s 6,000 cell towers have been vandalised or stolen during the last three years.