Attorney General opens investigation into spectrum auction

7 Feb 2020

The Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduria General de la Nacion) has opened a disciplinary investigation into a senior Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (Ministerio de Tecnologias de la Informacion y las Comunicaciones, MinTIC) official regarding the handling of the recent spectrum auction, in particular the ‘alleged inconsistencies in the Partners selection process’. As part of the process, the office has requested that the ministry temporarily suspend the granting of spectrum rights until it can determine whether newcomer Partners – the bidding vehicle used by Novator Partners, the Icelandic-owned, London-based owner of Chilean upstart operator WOM – complied with conditions for objectivity and transparency. The Attorney General is also looking to clarify the amount that the government would obtain from the December 2019 sale. In a statement, the investigator noted that the MinTIC official was accused of allowing capital funds such as Novator to participate in the auction under more flexible conditions than other interested parties.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Partners botched its bid for 2500MHz spectrum and mistakenly entered a bid of COP1.748 trillion (USD534.2 million) for Block 2 in the band, well ahead of its bids for Block 5 (COP293.2 billion) and Block 6 (COP173.5 billion). The company asked that the erroneous bid be withdrawn and although MinTIC stated that it would consider the request it has yet to reach a decision on the matter.