Mexican authorities reviewing handling of Telmex’s bid to enter pay TV sector

8 Jun 2011

The Mexican anti-corruption and public service organisation, the Ministry of Public Administration, is working with the Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) to examine the alleged mishandling of a regulatory ruling related to fixed line incumbent Telefonos de Mexico’s (Telmex’s) bid to enter the pay TV sector. According to Reuters, a number of documents obtained by the news agency suggest that despite considering a request by Telmex three years ago for permission to launch TV services, the Comision Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Cofetel) failed to issue a final decision in time, in effect leading to a ‘tacit approval’ of the application. Amid claims that Cofetel even reached the point of drafting a ‘no’ decision, the regulator has now reportedly handed over paperwork to investigators, and is cooperating in the matter. The case is viewed as an important step in improving the public perception that a number of companies controlled by some of Mexico’s wealthiest individuals still rely on political influence in order to maintain their position in specific sectors.

In the event, despite taking one step forward in its bid to join the ranks of pay TV providers on the back of the regulatory misstep, as reported by CommsUpdate at the end of last month the request to offer television services was swiftly rejected by the SCT. The regulator claimed that Telmex did not meet federal requirements for connecting other carriers to its network efficiently, while it also claimed that the incumbent had failed to provide enough information for the government’s consideration of the matter. Unsurprisingly perhaps, Telmex expressed its unhappiness with the decision, with spokesman Renato Flores noting: ‘We don’t agree with the decision made by authorities … We think it does not meet with what the court ordered.’ The spokesman also confirmed that Telmex will appeal the decision in court.