AT&T has announced that it has shut down its DirecTV Latin America operations in Venezuela, effective immediately. The US government’s sanctions on Venezuela have prohibited the broadcast of Globovision and PDVSA’s channels, both of which are required under the terms of DirecTV’s licence. Because it is impossible for the unit to comply with the legal requirements of both countries, AT&T was forced to close its pay-TV operations in Venezuela. AT&T says that the decision was made by the company’s US leadership team without any involvement or prior knowledge of the DirecTV Venezuela team.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in December 2014 – shortly before AT&T’s takeover of the company had concluded – DirecTV won a 2×20MHz 2600MHz 4G mobile broadband licence via a local holding unit, Galaxy Entertainment Venezuela. The pay-TV provider sought to introduce fixed LTE-based data-only services but postponed its plans in February 2016 after Venezuela’s currency crisis made it difficult to procure the required telecoms equipment. Cellular operators Movistar Venezuela and Movilnet also won 4G licences at that time, eventually launching commercial LTE services in February 2015 and January 2017, respectively.