IFT, Mexico’s telecoms regulator, has announced new and tougher rules for the fixed and mobile operations of America Movil, as part of a play to improve competitiveness in the market.

Telcel and Telmex, mobile and fixed-line operators respectively, were previously named as “pre-dominant” by IFT. It paved the way for the imposition of new IFT regulation on the two firms, which include measures on roaming, unlocked phones and billing.

As expected, IFT told Telcel to stop charging customers more expensive roaming charges when calls are made within Mexico.

If a mobile customer buys his service in Mexico City and makes a call to Monterrey, said IFT, then the call should be charged at local rates in Mexico City.

And if a Telcel customer from Mexico City travels to Monterrey and then makes a call to another Mexican city, IFT said that call must be charged at long-distance rates (rather than the higher roaming tariff).

Roaming charges for incoming calls are also scrapped.

Moreover, IFT said Telcel customers who pay for their mobile phones in full – either as part of a contract or pre-paid package – should receive unlocked devices.

For customers who fully paid their mobile phones before 6 April, IFT said Telcel had 90 days from that date to unlock – free of charge – the bought devices.

On billing, IFT ordered Telcel to separate charges made for telecoms and non-telecoms services. In this way, said IFT, users who keep up to date with their telecoms payments will not have their mobile service cut off if they fall behind on other payments.

The measures by IFT are part of crackdown on anti-competitive behaviour by President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Telcel has 70 per cent of Mexico’s mobile subscribers while Telmex controls 80 per cent of the fixed-line market.