Colombia’s Ministry of Information & Communications Technologies, MinTIC last week announced it is imposing a fine of $8.8 billion COP, or approximately $2.287 million USD on Colombian wireless carrier Avantel for failing to comply with a 2013 law (Resolution 2627) that requires telecom operators in Colombia to offer 4G coverage in 100% of major Colombian cities by their 5th year of operation.
MinTIC indicates that failing to provide a minimum of 4G coverage violates the right of access to information technology and basic communication for Colombians.
Avantel is in the process of being acquired by Telecom Partners Colombia, operating under the retail brand “WOM,” and the current fine comes after a fine earlier this year by MinTIC against Avantel for illegally sharing telecom spectrum, or frequency bands that carry mobile phone signals, with WOM.
Avantel is licensed to use the 2.4 GHz radio band, and WOM has a license for 700 MHz, but rival carriers Tigo and Claro filed complaints that Avantel was illegally using WOM spectrum, and MinTIC found in favor of the complainants.
Finance Colombia has reached out to WOM leadership, which has so far been unresponsive.