Argentina revokes spectrum deal

Concession to go back under state control

BUENOS AIRES — The government revoked Thales Spectrum’s $500 million concession to run Argentina’s radio spectrum for broadcast TV, radio and other services on Monday after the French defense electronics company allegedly failed to meet 70% of contract obligations.

Thales fell behind in royalty payments, neglected to make more than $100 million in promised investment and posted profits between 1997 and 2001 that exceeded contractual limits, said cabinet chief Alberto Fernandez.

President Nestor Kirchner intends to put the concession back under state control, Fernandez said. Argentina was the first country to privatize oversight of its spectrum.

Long criticized, the concession and its private operator came under closer scrutiny last year when the French magazine Le Point reported that Thales may have paid $25 million in bribes to win the 15-year contract in 1997.

Thales took a fee from broadcasters, telecommunication companies and other firms to manage the spectrum, and then paid a royalty to the state.

It also failed to control piracy — the spectrum is clogged with more than 5,000 illegal broadcasters because of corruption and lax regulation.

In the 1990s, then-President Carlos Menem, who awarded the contract to Thales, reportedly gave out several hundred frequencies as political favors; the beneficiaries resold the licenses for a profit.

The Kirchner administration also criticized the Menem government for poorly regulating Thales. Justice Minister Gustavo Beliz said he would launch a legal investigation to find out what happened.

More News

  • Timothee Chalamet

    Timothee Chalamet in Talks to Star in Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune'

    BUENOS AIRES — The government revoked Thales Spectrum’s $500 million concession to run Argentina’s radio spectrum for broadcast TV, radio and other services on Monday after the French defense electronics company allegedly failed to meet 70% of contract obligations. Thales fell behind in royalty payments, neglected to make more than $100 million in promised investment […]

  • Second Annual Pokémon Go Fest Draws

    Second Annual Pokémon Go Fest Draws Over 21,000 Attendees

    BUENOS AIRES — The government revoked Thales Spectrum’s $500 million concession to run Argentina’s radio spectrum for broadcast TV, radio and other services on Monday after the French defense electronics company allegedly failed to meet 70% of contract obligations. Thales fell behind in royalty payments, neglected to make more than $100 million in promised investment […]

  • Kacey Musgraves Announces ‘Oh, What a

    Kacey Musgraves Announces ‘Oh, What a World’ Tour Dates

    BUENOS AIRES — The government revoked Thales Spectrum’s $500 million concession to run Argentina’s radio spectrum for broadcast TV, radio and other services on Monday after the French defense electronics company allegedly failed to meet 70% of contract obligations. Thales fell behind in royalty payments, neglected to make more than $100 million in promised investment […]

  • Netflix Reed Hastings

    Netflix Falls Short of Q2 Subscriber Expectations Worldwide, Stock Dives

    BUENOS AIRES — The government revoked Thales Spectrum’s $500 million concession to run Argentina’s radio spectrum for broadcast TV, radio and other services on Monday after the French defense electronics company allegedly failed to meet 70% of contract obligations. Thales fell behind in royalty payments, neglected to make more than $100 million in promised investment […]

  • Zoey Deutch

    Ryan Murphy Netflix Series 'The Politician' Casts Zoey Deutch, Three More Series Regulars

    BUENOS AIRES — The government revoked Thales Spectrum’s $500 million concession to run Argentina’s radio spectrum for broadcast TV, radio and other services on Monday after the French defense electronics company allegedly failed to meet 70% of contract obligations. Thales fell behind in royalty payments, neglected to make more than $100 million in promised investment […]

  • 'GTFO' Introduces Terrifying New Enemy That

    'GTFO' Introduces Terrifying New Enemy That Resembles a Living Shadow

    BUENOS AIRES — The government revoked Thales Spectrum’s $500 million concession to run Argentina’s radio spectrum for broadcast TV, radio and other services on Monday after the French defense electronics company allegedly failed to meet 70% of contract obligations. Thales fell behind in royalty payments, neglected to make more than $100 million in promised investment […]

  • "Refuge" -- Eric is called in

    'Ransom' Renewed by CBS for Season 3

    BUENOS AIRES — The government revoked Thales Spectrum’s $500 million concession to run Argentina’s radio spectrum for broadcast TV, radio and other services on Monday after the French defense electronics company allegedly failed to meet 70% of contract obligations. Thales fell behind in royalty payments, neglected to make more than $100 million in promised investment […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content