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MEXICO CITY, Aug 25 (Reuters) - America Movil said on Tuesday it is facing a Mexico regulatory probe into whether its fixed-line unit Telmex violated the terms of its concession, and whether it broke the law, dealing a blow to its television ambitions at home.
The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) is looking at Telmex’s relationship with satellite TV provider Dish Mexico and America Movil’s online television and news website “Uno TV”, the company said.
The probe will come as a major blow to America Movil, which is owned by the family of billionaire Carlos Slim and was subject to a sweeping sector reform passed last year which sought to loosen its dominance of telecoms in Mexico.
America Movil was just weeks away from the end of a compliance period of 18 months, after which the new law stipulated it could apply to offer television services at home for the first time.
Competitors had complained that its relationship with Dish - the two companies printed a single bill for shared services - violated Telmex’s concession which prevents it from offering television.
Slim’s America Movil, which holds 70 percent of Mexico’s mobile market and is the market leader in fixed-line, also had an option to buy a majority stake in Dish, but renounced it last year.
Telmex was fined 14.4 million pesos in January for not fully disclosing the tie-up.
America Movil set up “Uno TV” in 2008 to offer television content via the Internet, sparking a debate over how it should be regulated and whether it broke its concession terms.
The telecoms reform imposed “must carry/must offer” rules on broadcasters such as Grupo Televisa, requiring them to offer free-to-air channels to pay TV carriers like Dish.
America Movil said it would analyze the supposed violations and defend itself as appropriate. A spokeswoman for the IFT was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Christine Murray; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)