April 24, 2014

Following appeal

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mobile firms given 60 days to charge by the second

Defence Minister Agustín Rossi Mobile phone companies will have 60 days to adjust all their rates and charge by the second, Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido and Communications Secretary Norberto Berner confirmed in a news conference yesterday.

The companies Personal, Movistar and Claro will only have 15 days to implement the change for new customers according to the resolution that will be published in the Official Gazette today.

The mobile phone companies filed an appeal to protest that they had not been given time to adapt, with the government heeding the complaint and finally specifying a deadline to comply.

Any modification to tariffs will also have to be notified to the Communications Secretariat 60 days in advance.

“Within the next 15 days, operators will have to include this information on their websites,” Berner said.

The officials also highlighted the cooperation between his secretariat and the Domestic Trade office, headed by August Costa, revealing they are working on a joint agenda for the mobile phone sector.

The agenda includes “emergency and catastrophe protocol” and the development of a “manual for auditing with indicators of service quality,” a list-topping issue for citizens who often bemoan poor signal reception on the phones.

De Vido emphasized that the government actively “works for the deconcentration (of the sector) to avoid a monopoly from developing” and that “the user has the opportunity to choose.”

Last year, the federal government issued new communications rules mandating that mobile phone companies had to start measuring phone calls by the second. But four consumer rights groups had to carry out legal action in order to make the measure effective.

The Federal Court of San Nicolás accepted UCA’s request last Friday and gave the companies time until last Thursday to adjust to the new system, but their appeal was granted and the government conceded their request.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had authorized the Communications Secretariat to “take the necessary measures to guarantee the service provided by telecommunications companies,” highlighting possible sanctions such as banning their sale of devices and accounts.

Herald with DyN

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