April 16, 2007 / 8:56 PM / 12 years ago

Chile says mobile phone antennas are urban eyesores

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile said on Monday it would propose a law to give people more say about where mobile phone companies can set up transmission antennas, seen by many as towering eyesores.

Chile has seen explosive growth in mobile communications in recent years, giving it the highest per capita usage of the technology in Latin America, but with it has come a skyline littered with sprouting towers.

“The installation of mobile phone towers damages the urban environment,” Pablo Bello, subsecretary of communications, told reporters on Monday. “And it’s a reality that we must face.”

He said he had been working with Chile’s housing ministry and could announce a proposed law in coming days to deal with the issue.

Bello said the law would give municipalities more control over the installation of towers in their jurisdiction.

Currently eight of every 10 Chileans have a cellular phone and government estimates predict an increase to one cellular phone per resident by 2010 or 2011. Industry estimates say this level will be reached by 2009.

The Chilean mobile phone business is led by Movistar of Spanish Telefonica (TEF.MC), followed closely by Entel PCS of locally-owned Entel (ENT.SN), and by aggressive new-comer Claro, of Mexico’s America Movil (AMXL.MX).

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