Hondutel (or the Empresa Hondureña de Telecomunicaciones), is Honduras' government owned telecommunications company. It has a monopoly on international calls. FBI investigations retrieved evidence of large-scale corruption in Hondutel and the company has been investigated by Honduran prosecutors since 2007.
The organization was created on May 7, 1976, as an autonomous organization responsible for the moderization of Honduras' telecommunication system, and to achieve a better efficiency in its administration and profitability.
To contribute welfare of Honduran society by providing efficient and timely, Telecommunication Services and Information Technology, competitive price and quality, compliance with sectoral policies established by the State of Honduras.
IN June 2007, Hondutel launched its first of a series of Personal Communications Services (PCS) networks. It competes with companies such as Luxembourg's Millicom and Mexico's juggernaut América Móvil. In October it extended to the Sula Valley including the cities of San Pedro Sula, La Lima, Villanueva and surrounding communities. In December[year needed] it extended coverage to La Ceiba.
Currently it offers Mobile phone coverage in the cities of Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Olancho, Progress and Copan and surrounding areas.
The administration of President Porfirio Lobo created a commission to study the available alternatives to solve Hondutel's lack of funds. The operator needs to modernize and expand its wired infrastructure and complete the its nationwide mobile footprint. Hondutel's dire financial situation has forced the government to intervene in order to provide funds to cover employees salaries. Unofficially it's been said that there are only two viable solutions for Hondutel, either finding an strategic partner that is willing to have the state as a partner shareholder or total privatization. Accordingto an Hondutel executive, the operator needs an immediate cash injection of US$150 million to become more competitive.
During August 2013, the government announced its intentionto auction two AWS mobile licenses and directly grant a third one to Hondutel. Thegovernment expects that these new spectrum concessions will be used for the deploymentof LTE services.
FBI Criminal Division's Fraud Section revealed that Latin Node Inc., an American company, had illegal dealings with Hondutel executives The affair was later reported in the Honduran media. Marcelo Chimirri unsuccessfully sued journalists for libel that had published the corruption scandal.
An unknown individual posted various recordings of high government officials on YouTube, possibly implicating them in a corruption scandal concerning Hondutel. After Zelaya made a complaint to the police, they launched an investigation to find who had made the recordings which are considered espionage and a violation of Honduras' privacy laws. The investigation included searching the home of Marcelo Chimirri and both his office at Hondutel and those of other members of staff, the former was an action condemned by Zelaya. On November 4. Marcelo Chimirri resigned from his post at Hondutel in January 2007. In January 2008 the United States embassy confirmed that Chimirri would not be allowed to enter the US.
In May 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder decided to release the names of officials A, B, and C. Honduran investigators were going to visit the United States to seek evidence collected by the United States.
Apart from Chimirri Oscar Danilo Santos (the former manager of Hondutel), Jorge Rosa, and James Lagos are all charged in connection with allegedly committing crimes of abuse of authority, fraud and bribery having received bribes of 1.09 million U.S. dollars of an international carrier in exchange for Hondutel give them lower rates than other firms. While the auditor Julio Daniel Flores was charged for the lesser crime of violation of duties of officers.
In 2012, a Florida Corporation named Suncoast successfully sued Hondutel for Fraud in Suncoast Tech Corp. v. Hondutel. A judgment was awarded against Hondutel for fraud in the Federal Court, Southern District of Florida in excess of $900,000.
- The following articles describe lack of funds and how the governmentapproved the budget to cover salaries: http://www.latribuna.hn/2013/07/26/francisco-rivera-hondutel-no-tiene-ni-flujo-de-caja/and http://www.latribuna.hn/2013/08/29/unos-tres-mil-200-millones-de-lempiras-le-aprueban-a-hondutel/
- See analysis describing Hondutel's options: http://www.panopticotic.com/2013/08/honduras-hondutel-privatizacion-o-socio.html
- See interview of Heidy Mendoza, Hondutel's operations director: http://signalstelecomnews.com/index.php/entrevistas/8431-para-que-hondutel-resurja-debe-realizar-grandes-inversiones-del-orden-de-us150-millones
- More information about the allocation of AWS spectrum: http://www.panopticotic.com/2013/09/honduras-urgente-controlar-expectativas.html
- Department of Justice Press Release
- [dead link http://www.laprensahn.com/ediciones/2007/09/15/ordenan_a_chimirri_dar_datos Ordenan a Chimirri dar datos]
- [dead link http://www.laprensahn.com/ediciones/2007/10/04/inadmisible_querella Inadmisible querella]
- Casi 300 mil visitas a las grabaciones
- http://www.laprensa.hn/ediciones/2007/11/10/policia_catea_vivienda_de_chimirri Policía catea vivienda de Chimirri
- http://www.laprensa.hn/ediciones/2007/11/11/zelaya_condena_accion_policial_en_allanamiento_de_casa_de_chimirri Zelaya condena acción policial en allanamiento de casa de Chimirri
- Estados Unidos prohíbe entrada a Chimirri