The doubt arose within the 1,010 telephone operators that Ecuador has, by an article of law that could lead to different interpretations regarding profit sharing. In the current Constitution it states, “The State will participate in the benefits of the use of these resources, in an amount not less than the company that exploits them.”
Regarding “these resources“, the charter includes the radio spectrum, among others. For its part, the government of Rafael Correa came out yesterday to calm the telecommunications sector, but not all the operators were convinced.
Otto Sonnenholzner, former President of the Ecuadorian Association of Broadcasters (AER), suspects that the National Telecommunications Secretariat (Senatel), is making “a misunderstanding” with Article 408 of the Constitution. Although the spectrum is a “property inalienable, and indefeasible of the state“, said the broadcaster that does not mean it is a limited resource. “The spectrum does not suffer any kind of tear or gets consumed, like oil and mining, thus applying this makes no sense,” he said.
Meanwhile, Roberto Aspiazu, representative of the Chambers of Production at the National Telecommunications Council (Conatel), expressed his surprise after authorities retook the subject, even if it was resolved in 2009, with a ruling of the Constitutional Court, that excluded the spectrum from non-renewable resources.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino tried to appease the uncertainty of the businessmen, denying that regime sought to appropriate half of the profits generated by the media through the Montecristi text. “If there’s any doubt about it, I want to make clear that this is not the way of reform and that we will not implement like that. The media owners will not have to distribute 50% of its profits to the state,” he said.
Aspiazu said that despite the official statement, it must clarify the issue in upcoming constitutional reforms by the Legal Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic. “It’s not relevant, the resolution of Conatel, to interpret the Constitution.” Sonnenholzner agreed with Aspiazu, believing that sharing the profits with the state of the economy affects small and medium stations.