On 17 May, Uruguay’s supreme administrative court ruled that telecoms regulator URSEC had committed an antitrust violation when it allowed an exclusive rights deal to take place in 2011 between Puertas del Sur, which runs Uruguay’s national airports, and ANTEL. Subsequent to the administrative ruling, Telefónica will now be able to seek some US$4 million in damages through a further trial.

The Spanish telecoms company appointed FERRERE as legal counsel to litigate against URSEC in the administrative judicial courts, arguing that in allowing Puertas del Sur to give a telecoms company a monopoly over mobile data services, the telecoms regulator had failed to comply with its legal obligation to enforce antitrust regulations.

In May, the court issued a unanimous decision declaring that URSEC had acted illegally in permitting ANTEL to acquire the exclusive rights to provide mobile data services in national airports, which the court said had created an artificial monopoly damaging to consumers.

Ferrere counsel Cristina Vázquez notes that the case was “politically loaded” given that it involved a state-owned company. “This decision is particularly important given that regulators have somewhat lowered their guard in recent years when confronting the antitrust violations of certain politically influential state-owned companies,” she says.

Article published in Latin Lawyer on June 20, 2013.