Claro, Digicel, Telefónica and Tigo have grouped in the Salvadoran Chamber of Telecommunications.
An article on Elfinancierocr.com reports that "... The four major mobile and fixed phone companies in El Salvador, Claro, Digicel, Telefónica and Tigo have announced the establishment of the Salvadoran Chamber of Telecommunications, a non-profit organization that will help ensure sectorial expansion, deployment, enhancement and development of networks and the telecommunications industry in the country, according to a press release. "
Operators are opposed to the proposal to tax phone bills and purchases of technological equipment, while the government has shown itself unwilling to cooperate by reducing tariffs.
While the government insists that telecommunications companies must lower telephone rates in order to minimize the impact of a future tax of 10% for public security, telecoms companies have defended themselves arguing that "... the process of approval of charges and maximum fees does not depend on the willingness of companies, but the process defined in the regulations established for that purpose. "
The telecoms company plans to invest $50 million in equipment to expand 4G network coverage in remote areas of the capital.
Digicel El Salvador announced plans for 2015 to invest about $50 million, ie $10 million more than the invested made to upgrade technologies in 2014. Besides this project, the company will be updating the central management system for telephone calls, following the entry into force of number portability in the country.
The Salvadoran Justice system has upheld the fines imposed on electricity distributors and Digicel by the competition regulator.
"The Administrative Litigation Division of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) ruled in favor of the Superintendency of Competition (SC) in two cases: one in which the existence of anticompetitive practices by electricity distributors CAESS and AES CLESA was determined, and the other at the opening of a sanction process against Digicel, for lack of cooperation ", reported Elmundo.com.sv.
The President of Grupo Digicel has announced investments over the next eighteen months of more than $40 million.
In his short visit to El Salvador, Denis O'Brien was interviewed about the expansion, with topics covered such as the Salvadoran authorities refusal to authorize the sale of Digicel to Claro and the company’s future investments in the country.
After the competition regulator imposed the release of part of the spectrum leased by Claro as a condition to the merger between the two companies, America Movil has announced its withdrawal from the move.
In March last year, America Movil announced an agreement to acquire a 100% stake of Digicel El Salvador, for an undisclosed amount.
The Superintendency of Competition (SC) of El Salvador conditioned the operation to Claro waiving the right to exploit 20 MHz of the total spectrum it owns in El Salvador. "The reason for this precondition to authorize the merger of operations of both companies is to retain the current level of competition in the cell phone industry to protect consumers' pockets", explained at the time the head of the SC, Francisco Diaz Rodriguez .
For the second time the Superintendence of Competition of El Salvador has refused permission for economic concentration between both companies.
From a statement from the Superintendency of Competition (SC):
SC does not authorize the purchase of DIGICEL
After carrying out technical legal and economic analysis, the Board of Directors (CD in Spanish) of the Superintendence for Competition (SC) decided to reject application of economic concentration by CLARO from the purchase of DIGICEL, considering that the proposed economic concentration has high probability of having an adverse effect on the dynamics of competition and consumer welfare in the markets for fixed and mobile telephony.
The Competition Superintendence of El Salvador has acknowledged receipt of a new request for the acquisition of 100% of Digicel’s shares by Claro in March 2012.
From a communciation from the Superintendence of Competition (SC):
SC Receives new application from CLARO - DIGICEL
The Board (CD) of the Superintendencia de Competencia (SC), has received a new application for a new merger request made by the company America Movil, which owns the CLARO brand, for the purchase all of Digicel’s shares.
Claro has submitted a new request to the Superintendency of Competition (SC) in El Salvador for authorization to buy Digicel.
The SC has received a new request for authorization of economic concentration on the part of America Movil, owner of the Claro brand, to purchase all the shares belonging to Digicel.
According to a review by the SC, the information and documentation submitted does not comply with some of the requirements of Article 35 of the Competition Act and 25 of its regulations and is not sufficient for analysis of admissibility, for which it has granted a period of thirty days for the applicant to remedy the situation.
The Mexican company will not be able to merge with Digicel unless it agrees to a condition to renouncen the use of 20 MHz of airwaves.
Regarding the ruling by Superintendencia de Competencia (SC), Daniel Choto writes in Elsalvador.com, "The reason for this precondition to allowing the merger of the operations of both companies is to maintain the current level of competition in the field of mobile phone companies in order to protect consumers' pockets, said the head of the SC, Francisco Diaz Rodriguez. "
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