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Peru

Peru Slaps Phone Company With A Hefty Service Charge Of Its Own

Despite its huge market share in Peru, Spanish cell phone provider Movistar wanted a free ride on renewing its operating licenses. Peruvian authorities have handed the telecom giant a bill of nearly a billion bucks.

*NEWSBITES

Authorities in Peru have slapped Movistar, a cell phone operator, with an $830-million bill, urging the Spanish multinational to pay up or ship out. According to Ospitel, a telecommunications supervisory organization, that's what Movistar Peru owes for continuing to use two bandwidths after the company's operating licenses expired earlier this year.

The pricey phone bill hit Movistar like a cold bucket of water. Outraged, the company insists the concession renewal should be free. "The contracts didn't include anything about having to pay once the 20-year concessions expired," says Carlos Huamán, the executive director of consulting firm DN Consultores. "That's because the government at the time was only interested in attracting investment for the sectors that were to be privatized."

Huamán explains, however, that the 50 Mhz in question are indeed of great value to Movistar. Just two years ago, the same company paid $220 million to renew its concessions in Ecuador. And it did so without raising prices for consumers.

"The Ecuadorian and Peruvian markets are similar in the sense that in both places, just two operators control roughly 95% of the market," says Huamán. "What Movistar agreed to pay there was about right considering the scale of business it does there."

Nevertheless, Movistar's spokespeople insist that in the case of Peru, the cost of renewing its concessions should be zero – for the simple fact that the terms and conditions of the original contract included nothing about renewal fees.

Read more from AméricaEconomía in Spanish

Photo - morrissey

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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