QUITO Feb 9 Ecuador's markets watchdog said on
Sunday it fined the local subsidiary of Latin America's largest
phone company, America Movil, $138.4 million for
The Superintendent of Market Control said the subsidiary,
Claro, had "impeded" other local cellphone providers and that
the fine represented "10 percent of all its business in 2012."
Claro called the move "unjustified and disproportionate" and
accused the authorities of inconsistency.
The watchdog acted after a complaint by the State
Telecommunications Corporation (CNT), a public company that also
provides cellphone services. CNT accused Claro of
anti-competitive behavior by signing exclusivity contracts with
the owners of land where Claro's transmission towers are
Claro is Ecuador's biggest mobile operator, with a 63.8
percent market share and about 15.5 million subscribers. Its
parent company, America Movil, is controlled by Mexican
billionaire Carlos Slim.
A third cellphone provider, a subsidiary of the Spanish
telecoms company Telefonica, also operates in Ecuador.
Claro said in a statement that the fine was unfair, and said
it "noted the existence of inconsistencies in the process which
undermine due process and the right to a defense."
The company said it would seek to challenge the resolution
Telefonica's subsidiary has 32.8 percent of the cellphone
market, according to the official Communications Superintendent,
while the state company CNT has the remaining 3.4 percent.