Mexico approves telecoms reform bill

22 March 2013 | Kavit Majithia


Mexico’s lower house of Congress has given approval to a telecoms reform bill that could have some effect in decreasing the power of Mexican billionaire tycoon Carlos Slim.

The move marks the first big step into introducing increasing competition in the telecoms and televisions sectors of the country. The bill proposes the creation of tougher industry regulation on any companies deemed dominant, which owns 50% share of telecoms or television markets.

A series of measures could then be put in place, which includes forcing asset sales in a bid to limit power to allow for new entrants in the market or implementing an asymmetric tariff structure.

As part of the bill, the country has extended foreign ownership rules, to allow international investors to own up to a 49% in a television company, and up to 100% for a telecoms company.

América Móvil, owned by Slim, is expected to be most affected by the bill, who also owns Mexican broadcaster Televisa. Slim owns an estimated 70% share in the country’s cellular market.

Fears that the reform will adversely affect America Móvil has been reflected in the company’s share price, after it hit a near four year low last week.

Mexico still accounts for 35% of the company’s revenues, despite it now having presence in at least 18 international markets.