Mexican government defends telecoms reform bill

The Mexican government has defended its new telecoms bill after claims that the reforms are designed to favour broadcaster Televisa while penalising Carlos Slim.

Congress is preparing to give its final approval on the legal framework for the reforms, after the senate house in Mexico approved the laws on Sunday.

The government has said that Televisa could still face antitrust sanctions as a result.

Media mogul Carlos Slim has been attempting to gain a stronger foothold in the Mexican pay-TV market, after his América Móvil empire was declared as the predominant player in the country’s telecoms market. It has 80% of the fixed-line segment and 70% of the mobile market.

While Televisa was declared as the dominant free-to-air broadcaster, the company also has over 50% of the pay-TV market, which appears to have been ignored by the legislation, and the reforms placed on both companies claim to be asymmetrical.

Critics have since voiced concerns that Televisa has been favoured, and a government legal counsel has said the independent industry regulator, the IFT, has 30 days to investigate how much power Televisa has in the pay-TV market.

The government has since stated that pay-TV should be considered in the same bracket as internet and telephony services because of the increasing convergence in the industry.

Under the reforms, América Móvil will be required to provide interconnection to its network for free, in addition to a range of other concessions.

If América Móvil does comply with the rules, it will be eligible to apply to offer a pay-TV offering in 18 months.