Antitrust commission accuses Telcel of abusing position in Nextel text case

5 Jul 2006

Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission (CFC) has ruled that the country’s largest mobile operator Telcel is guilty of monopolistic practices in its refusal to allow the exchange of text messages with Nextel Mexico, according to BNamericas quoting local daily El Norte. In January Mexican regulator Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Cofetel) ordered cellular operators Iusacell, Telcel, Unefon and Telefónica Móviles México to implement the exchange of text messages with mobile trunking operator Nextel within 60 days, after the latter filed a complaint with the CFC. Telefónica Móviles Mexico was the only company to comply with the order by the 12 March deadline. Telcel, Iusacell and Unefon argue that they should not be obliged to interconnect with Nextel because it does not operate a traditional GSM or CDMA mobile telephony network. In March Nextel asked Cofetel to revoke the operating concessions of the trio, and it has now received the backing of the CFC, which ruled that Telcel is violating article ten of Mexico’s competition law and abusing its dominant market position. Iusacell earlier referred its case to a local arbitration tribunal which has initially ruled in its favour and said that it did not have to adhere to Cofetel’s order, pending further study of the case; Nextel is preparing an appeal via a higher court.