Mexico outlines bidding for new TV networks in efforts to boost competition

viernes 7 de marzo de 2014 10:53 GYT
 

* Bidders must seek competition clearance from new watchdog
by Jun 17
    * Watchdog must respond by Sept 9
    * Process part of bid to boost competition in telecoms
sector

    MEXICO CITY, March 7 (Reuters) - Mexico on Friday detailed
the bidding process for concessions to create two new national
television networks, part of a package to boost competition in a
sector dominated by Carlos Slim's phone giant America Movil
 and broadcaster Televisa.
    Bidders must seek competition clearance from new watchdog
the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) by June 17, in
accordance with instructions that will be published by March 9
at the latest, the Federal Register said.
    Would-be bidders will be advised whether they can compete by
Sept. 9, it added, giving details of regional frequencies up for
grabs.
    The IFT, which was created by a reform last year aimed at
boosting competition in the telecommunications sector and has
the power to break up dominant players, announced the launch of
the concession auction process late on Thursday.
    The new networks would weaken the duopoly of Mexico's two
biggest players, Televisa and rival TV Azteca.
Combined, which control about 95 percent of the broadcast
television market.
    The IFT said on Thursday it had determined who is dominant,
or has an oversized market share, in the telecoms and broadcast
sectors, even though legislation to implement the sweeping
telecoms reform of 2013 is still pending.
    The IFT did not name the companies in question, but said it
was it was in the process of notifying the firms concerned. 
    America Movil has about 80 percent of Mexico's fixed-line
business via its Telmex unit and some 70 percent of the mobile
sector through its Telcel subsidiary.
    A spokesman for America Movil said the company had yet to be
notified.
    A source familiar with the ruling told Reuters broadcaster
Televisa, the world's largest Spanish-language
content producer, IT had been notified of its dominant position.
Televisa has more than 60 percent of the TV market and has long
been accused of wielding too much political power.
    The dominance ruling is a key part of the government's
telecoms reform, which has lifted expectations that Mexico might
finally tackle the extraordinary power enjoyed by a select few
companies in Latin America's second largest economy.
    The reforms will allow the regulator to apply tougher rules
to level the playing field for smaller competitors. However, a
break-up of dominant companies looks unlikely in the foreseeable
future.