Telcos, regulator lobby FCC with concerns over América Móvil

8 Aug 2006

Telcos including Telefónica and Centennial have joined Puerto Rico’s telecoms watchdog Junta Reglamentadora de Telecomunicacion (JRT) in lobbying US regulator the FCC to ensure Mexico’s América Móvil (AM) does not dominate the Puerto Rican market once it completes the acquisition of the island’s largest operator Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRT), reports BNamericas quoting local daily El Nuevo Día. Telefónica (under the Movistar brand) and Centennial provide mobile services on the island alongside Verizon, SunCom and Sprint. Telefónica also operates in the long distance market through Telefónica Larga Distancia. AM has offered Verizon Wireless USD939 million for its 52% stake in PRT and the government has also agreed to sell its 28% stake for USD500 million. Telefónica Larga Distancia has asked the FCC to ensure there are measures in place to stop AM and AT&T Wireless colluding against smaller operators. AT&T Wireless is in the process of acquiring Cingular Puerto Rico, and also has a 7.9% equity stake and a 24.5% voting stake in AM, according to Telefónica Larga Distancia marketing and strategy VP Rafael Serrano. The paper reports that the US Justice Department and the FBI have expressed concern about AM’s planned entry into Puerto Rico.