July 29, 2016 / 10:27 PM / 3 years ago

Venezuela regulator denies telecoms requests for price hikes

CARACAS, July 29 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s struggling telecoms operators must maintain fixed low prices after the country’s regulator Conatel suspended their application to raise fees, doubling down on state-led economic policies.

Regulator Conatel said President Nicolas Maduro had instructed the agency to suspend price hikes despite desperate calls from a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica which said in February that the sector was in crisis.

International communication in Venezuela is becoming tougher, with carriers barring international calls. Internet connections are often slow.

In April, Telefonica subsidiary Movistar, one of the country’s largest providers, restricted international calls to just 10 countries following difficulties in obtaining dollars through the OPEC nation’s strict currency control system.

A statement from Conatel on Friday said Maduro had ordered creation of a working group of operators and relevant agencies to review the issues and that he would “not cease in efforts to democratize access to information technology” to Venezuelans. (Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Girish Gupta; Editing by David Gregorio)

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