Mexico’s secondary telecoms legislation to be presented this week

20 Mar 2014

Secondary legislation that will underpin the Mexican government’s efforts to boost competition in the country’s telecoms sectors are expected to be put before Congress this week. According to Reuters, which cites Emilio Gamboa, Senate leader of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, the so-called secondary laws which will implement the overhaul of the telecoms market are expected to be presented today, which is the last working day for Congress this week.

According to a version of the secondary laws dated 19 March seen by the news agency, the legislation will reportedly give Mexico’s new telecoms regulator extensive powers to police dominant telecoms operators, with control over elements such as the prices and discounts that they offer. New telecoms regulator the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) will also be able to force operators to seek approval every year for interconnection and infrastructure sharing terms, the document showed. Further, the watchdog will have powers that extend right up to being able to order asset divestitures.

With the mobile and fixed line units of America Movil – Telmex and Telcel – having been declared dominant by the Ifetel earlier this month, opening both up to more stringent regulation, the Ifetel has, however said it could repeal measures against them once their hold on the market has been loosened. The secondary legislation is said to have outlined one way in which it may do this, with the document noting: ‘The predominant economic player will cease to have such character when the (Ifetel) determines that its national market share, considering the variables used to declare it predominant, have been reduced below 50%.’

Many of the powers detailed in the secondary laws did actually exist under Mexico’s previous telecoms law, though the former industry regulator the Comision Federal de Telecomunicaciones was unable to apply them because companies were able to file injunctions preventing the previous antitrust body the Comision Federal de Competencia from declaring them dominant. However, under the updated legislation the Ifetel is now the highest authority on antitrust issues in telecoms and broadcasting, while separate legal changes mean companies can no longer suspend regulatory decisions pending appeal.

Mexico, Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT)