Ifetel orders Telcel and Telmex to reduce interconnection rates

2 Apr 2014

America Movil’s (AM’s) local fixed and mobile units have been ordered by the new Mexican telecoms regulator to reduce their termination rates. As per an order from the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel), from 6 April mobile network operator Telcel will only be allowed to charge competing carriers MXN0.2045 (USD0.015) per minute for incoming calls, down from the existing rate of MXN0.31 per minute, with the new charge set to remain in place until 31 December 2014. A press release issued by AM regarding the matter revealed several new rates will apply for fixed line incumbent Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex); the fee for interconnection within the same regional node has been set at MXN0.02015 per minute; the rate for interconnection among regional nodes that depend on a domestic node will be MXN0.02258; and the charge for interconnection among regional nodes that depend on different domestic nodes is capped at MXN0.02340. Unsurprisingly unhappy at the decision, AM was keen to claim that the aforementioned rates were ‘comparatively lower than the current rates for the same services in most of the countries throughout the world’.

In announcing the new fee schedule, AM noted that the Ifetel had imposed the rate revision resolution on the basis of having found Telcel and Telmex to be ‘preponderant economic agents’, or in other words dominant in their respective markets. Matters of dominance remain a contentious topic in Mexico, and Reuters, citing a statement made by the company to the Mexican stock exchange, reports that AM has now filed an injunction against the regulator’s latest rulings in this area.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month not only did the Ifetel name Carlos Slim-controlled AM as holding significant market power (SMP), but it took the somewhat unusual step of naming two of the businessman’s other companies, bank Inbursa and conglomerate Grupo Carso, as being dominant in the telecoms sector by dint of the fact that they have the same ‘economic interests’ as AM. As part of the decision, AM is now set to be subject to tougher regulation, including no longer being able to charge national roaming fees and a requirement to introduce local loop unbundling (LLU).