NuevaTel faces losing licence after regulator blocks sale

NuevaTel faces losing licence after regulator blocks sale

After blocking the sale of NuevaTel PCS in August, Bolivian regulator ATT (Autoridad de Regulacion y Fiscalizacion de Telecomunicaciones y Transportes) has now threatened to revoke the mobile operator’s licence.

ATT Executive Director Nestor Rios stated: “The sanction for an illegal transfer is the revocation of the licence. That is the procedure that is followed.”

The sale of NuevaTel PCS, which operates as Viva, was first announced in March 2022. As reported by CommsUpdate, the proposed deal would have seen the US-based owner Trilogy International Partners (TIP) transfer its 71.5% indirect holding in Viva to Peru’s Balesia Technologies, an infrastructure company with fibre and tower assets across Latin America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.

While the deal was set to close in the second quarter of 2022, the associated fee for the transaction was never disclosed. This lack of transparency was grounds enough for Bolivia’s regulator to block the sale of the operator in August this year. In a bid to rescue the deal, Balesia reportedly provided new documentation to the ATT in September, but this attempt was thwarted following reports that an unnamed Balesia spokesperson publicly claimed that the deal had closed during the ExpoCruz 2022 event that same month.

Rios has told local media that Viva has outstanding dues to the government of BOB45.7 million (US$6.4 million).

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