A bill that promises to introduce greater competition to Mexico’s telecoms and TV market has been passed by the country’s Senate, although with some modifications.
The Senate’s version of the bill said companies regulated by the country’s antitrust agency, the Federal Economic Competition Commission, can ask for temporary injunctions against fines and enforced asset sales, said Bloomberg.
Some reports saw this as a weakening of the original proposal. However, telecoms and media companies will not be able to use this defence. They can be fined and broken up by the Federal Telecommunications Institute, the bill’s proposed new telecoms regulator. Decisions by the new regulator cannot be suspended.
Also, says the bill, while operators such as America Movil – the country’s leading mobile operator – can go to court to fight the regulator’s decisions, they will not be able to suspend regulations while their case is reviewed.
America Movil has previously been adept at delaying decisions by using the appeal process.
In addition, the proposal allows the Communications and Transportation Ministry 45 days to publish a non-binding opinion on decisions by the new regulator.
The bill threatens to have a major impact on the country’s mobile market, where America Movil enjoys a market share of approximately 70 per cent. As well as a more powerful regulator, the legislation would raise the maximum ownership level for foreign companies in the mobile market.
The bill also contains provisions to increase competition in the TV market, currently dominated by Grupo Televisa.