New market entrants Claro and Movistar have been given an extra year to reach minimum coverage requirements of the greater metropolitan area (GAM) after delays in acquiring permits has held up network construction. El Financiero reports that the duo, which launched commercial services in November last year, were due to have coverage of all counties of the GAM by 14 July. Permits to install towers have proved difficult to obtain, partly due to the lack of existing legislation in place to regulate the allocation of relevant permissions, but also due to measures put in place by the National Environmental and Technical Secretariat (Setana) to limit the environmental impact of cell towers. The constitutional court has ruled Setana’s resolutions void, freeing up the two cellcos to continue their rollouts. The extension of the deadline will begin 60 days from the notification of Setana of the court’s decision – effectively giving the pair 14 months to meet their obligations. A spokesperson from the telecom ministry said that the rollout delays were not the fault of the operators, but the administration. Coverage requirements further down the line have also been put on hold until the government improves the conditions for the construction of telecoms infrastructure.
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