America Movil's Ecuadorian business has been slapped with a US$138.5 million fine after local regulators ruled that a series of exclusive tower deals amounted to an abuse of market power.
The Mexican operator's Conecel unit committed a "serious infringement" of several articles of Ecuador's law on regulation and control of power, the country's Superintendencia de Control del Poder de Mercado (SCPM) confirmed in a statement on Saturday. As such, it imposed a fine equivalent to 10% of the telco's total turnover for 2012.
According to government-owned newspaper El Telegrafo, that's a fine of $138.5 million.
The SCPM notes that the case against Conecel dates back to October 2012, when state-owned telco the Corporación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CNT) filed a complaint against Conecel.
That complaint stemmed from the fact that Conecel has 5,000 exclusive mobile towers deals in place with landowners that prevent rival companies building out infrastructure on the same sites, El Telegrafo reports.
The paper added that Conecel plans to appeal the fine, describing it as "more than unjust" and "disproportionate".
Conecel offers mobile services in Ecuador under the Claro brand. Its 11.89 million customers as of the end of September last year gave it a 69% share of the market, according to America Movil.