Argentina has ordered Spanish-owned cell phone service provider Movistar to pay nearly $43 million for an hours long interruption in service last month, the government said Tuesday.
The action comes amid tensions between Spain and Argentina over the government's expropriation of YPF oil company, which was owned by Spain's Repsol.
Planning Minister Julio de Vido said Movistar, which is owned by Telefonica de Espana, must pay a $1.3 million fine and compensate clients $41.6 million for the loss of service April 2.
At a news conference, de Vido said the action was intended to set an example and prevent future outages.
Movistar has about 40 percent of Argentina's mobile phone market, as well as six million landline accounts.
In 1990, at a time when the government of Carlos Menem was nationalizing state industries, Telefonica de Espana acquired rights to telecommunications services in southern Argentina, including Buenos Aires and its suburbs.
© 2012 AFP
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