Mexico round-up: Ifetel confirms AT&T talks; watchdog upholds Televisa dominance ruling

19 Sep 2014

Mexican telecoms regulator Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) has confirmed that it has staged talks with John Stankey, the chief strategy officer of AT&T Inc, to discuss the outlook of the market, as the company evaluates potential investments in the region. Stankey and Karim Antonio Lesina, the telco’s vice president of international external affairs, met with Gabriel Contreras Saldivar, president of Ifetel on 4 September. TeleGeography notes that AT&T was recently named as one of the potential buyers for America Movil’s (AM’s) east coast assets; AM seeks to sell surplus Telmex and Telcel assets in its domestic market in order to reduce its markets shares below 50%, thus avoiding tough regulations. The US telco has long been considered as the front-runner, while China Mobile, Bell Canada and Softbank of Japan have also been linked with a deal.

In other news, Ifetel confirmed yesterday that a tribunal has upheld its ruling that Grupo Televisa was dominant in the country’s broadcasting sector, rejecting all 18 injunctions the company filed against it. According to Reuters, an industry tribunal judge said that Ifetel’s ruling against Televisa was well founded; Televisa has more than 60% of the free-to-air TV market as well as being the biggest player in pay-TV market, which the watchdog began investigating earlier this month. TeleGeography notes that Grupo Televisa is a major player in the telecoms sector. Although the conglomerate agreed to sell its 50% equity stake in mobile provider Iusacell to Grupo Salinas earlier this month, the company retains investments in Cablevision, Cablemas and TVI.