Court agrees to stay on spectrum return order

1 Feb 2019

Chilean cellcos Entel, Movistar and Claro have won a brief reprieve in their ongoing legal battle over the allocation of the 700MHz spectrum in 2014. La Tercera writes that the Constitutional Court has agreed to stay a June 2018 Supreme Court decision ordering the trio to return frequencies equalling the amount they had been awarded in the 2014 tender. The trio had been instructed to return airwaves after the apex court ruled that they had broken rules limiting spectrum holdings to a combined total of 60MHz. The subsequent six months saw the operators protest against the instruction, arguing that they could not comply as there was no mechanism in place for the return of spectrum and that a review of the spectrum holding cap would eliminate the need for them to hand back the airwaves. Following the ruling, sector regulator the Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel) had launched a review of the spectrum cap rules and submitted its proposals to the Antitrust Tribunal (Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia, TDLC) in October 2018. Nevertheless, the following month the TDLC ordered the trio of operators to comply with the Supreme Court’s order.