Telefonica: ATTL Wants to Use Infrastructure for Free

Thursday, June 7, 2001

Peru's largest telco Telefonica del Peru (NYSE: TDP) has accused competitor AT&T Latin America Peru of trying to pressure the regulator into giving it free access to the incumbent's infrastructure.

"It is evident that AT&T is interested in using Telefonica's investments and property for free or for the lowest possible price," TDP said in a statement.

He added that TDP has not received official notification of a complaint filed yesterday by ATTL Peru with telecoms regulator Osiptel against alleged anti-competitive practices by the Spanish-owned telco.

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The charges include: the re-routing of long distance calls made through ATTL to Telefonica; unjustifiable interconnection costs in the provinces; blocking of ATTL lines during peak hours; and preventing calls from public phones to ATTL lines.

ATTL Peru legal and regulatory VP Virginia Nakagawa told "What AT&T wants is to have TDP's predatory and anticompetitive practices in the long distance and local telephony markets stopped. The objective is to make competition a reality in Peru's telecommunications sector, to the benefit of the consumer and new entrants."

According to the TDP spokesperson, Telefonica has invested over US$100mn in rural telephony since 1994 and installed more than 80,000 public telephones across the country.

"AT&T has not invested in communications across the country and has concentrated its efforts on the most lucrative niche markets, primarily businesses. Now that Telefonica has made investments and considerably expanded its network, AT&T wants to make use of the infrastructure through regulatory decisions," he said.

ATTL Peru launched service last August after nearly a year of disputes with TDP over interconnection fees and conditions that required the regulator's intervention. Mobile and long distance provider Bellsouth Peru had a similar problem with the incumbent.

TDP provides local and long distance services, and owns nearly all of the country's 2 million fixed lines. Spain's Telefonica (NYSE: TEF) has a controlling stake in TDP.