Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mexico: Regulator has set the licence terms to spur competition against America Movil

[Bloomberg] Mexico’s telecommunications regulator set technical rules to license new airwaves as it seeks to spur competition in a wireless market dominated by America Movil SAB.

The frequencies are suitable for services such as wireless high-speed Internet and are designed to allow a new national competitor to enter the market, the Federal Telecommunications Commission said yesterday in an e-mailed statement from Mexico City. The country’s antitrust agency will set further guidelines to promote competition, the communications regulator said.

Alestra SA and Axtel SA are among phone companies that have said they may apply to use the airwaves to offer WiMax wireless technology or other Internet services to compete with America Movil, which had 73 percent of Mexico’s wireless subscribers at the end of March. America Movil is controlled by Carlos Slim, the world’s third-richest man, according to Forbes magazine.

The Federal Competition Commission has been working closely with the communications regulator, and the licensing process may take place this year, Eduardo Perez Motta, president of the antitrust agency, said in an interview this month.

America Movil’s closest competitor is Spain’s Telefonica SA, with 19.5 percent of subscribers in Mexico. Grupo Iusacell SA has 4.5 percent and NII Holdings Inc. trails with 3.5 percent.

Alestra and Axtel, which provide fixed-line phone service, have said they are interested in acquiring airwaves to offer wireless Internet service to clients. Regulators have been working on the licensing rules for more than a year.

Mexico Regulator Sets Rules for Airwave Licenses

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