BNamericas is reporting that the Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) has accepted a request by fixed line incumbent operator Telmex to suspend plans that would have eliminated 70 of the country’s 397 local dialling areas. Plans to consolidate local dialling areas were first proposed in March 2007 by Cofetel, the telecoms regulator, as part of plans that would see a total of 195 areas eliminated. Telmex subsequently petitioned against the proposals and in October 2007 the project was suspended until September 2008. The latest ruling by the SCT has in essence revived the initial petition, although it is has not been announced how long the plans will be shelved for following the decision.
The 195 areas earmarked for consolidation by the proposals are rural regions with very low spending power, and are considered unattractive to alternative operators; Telmex however has set up long-distance services in these areas as it can absorb costs thanks to its mainstream operations. Cofetel’s proposals would see these areas merged with neighbouring zones to convert what are currently long-distance routes to local telephony.