Investigations into two major Colombian telephone companies Colombia Movil (Tigo) and Colombia Telecomunicaciones (Movistar) began on Wednesday after mobile phone operator Avantel denounced that the companies failed to share their 4G LTE services with rival operators, national media reported.
As Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MinTIC) carry out the inquiries, both Colombian telecommunications companies risk having their licence to provide customers with 4G roaming data suspended after they failed to fulfil norms obliging them to offer connectivity to their national roaming service to new entrant operators — those without their own telecommunication towers.
Despite being obliged by the state in the terms of their 4G tender to allow new entrants such as Avantel and Directv access to their infrastructure so that the market competitors might benefit from equal conditions and offer the same advanced roaming services to their customers, Movistar and Tigo have been accused of Avantel of failing to meet those requirements.
While the news that Movistar and Tigo would be introducing 4G services to Colombian residents, providing faster Internet surfing and download speeds, was widely welcomed last December, the companies could now see their licence compromised for operating illegally. The companies are accused of breaking 2009’s Law 1341, which is essential in ensuring that the government reaches its 2014 goal of providing mass connectivity and up to 8.8 million large bandwidth access points.
Avantel has reportedly demanded immediate access to the companies’ 4G networks, a payment of 500 minimum salaries-worth of fines for every day that Avantel has not been able to provide its own customers with the service (over $15.6 million in total), and a suspension of the companies’ 4G licence.
According to MinTIC and resolutions 63 and 64 of 2014, no company is allowed to provide 4G roaming services without guaranteeing new entrants access to automatic roaming.
Bogota’s Telecommunications Company (ETB) and the Union Temporal Colombia Movil (ETB) telephone companies are also reportedly being investigated.