BT Group executives met with Mexican telecoms regulator Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) last week, Bloomberg reports, to discuss ways of taking advantage of new laws designed to promote competition and boost foreign investment. According to the news agency, BT’s chief operations officer in the Americas, Jennifer Artley, alongside Jorge Marchena, regional country manager for Mexico and Central America, met with Ifetel president Gabriel Contreras and other commissioners on 20 November. Given BT Group’s recent flurry of M&A activity in its domestic market – the company has entered into takeover talks with UK mobile duo EE and O2 – the Mexico meeting has prompted speculation that the telco is also harbouring overseas ambitions.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, America Movil (AM) owner Carlos Slim is ready to sell off parts of his Mexican telecoms business in an effort to cut his company’s market share across the sector to below the 50% mark, thus avoiding regulations that apply only to dominant players, and cease being a ‘preponderant economic agent’. In September it was reported that AM had contacted four potential suitors – AT&T, Softbank Corp of Japan, Bell Canada and China Mobile – with a view to selling Telmex and Telcel in a deal worth up to USD20 billion. However, front-runner AT&T went on to strike a USD2.5 billion deal with another Mexican rival, Iusacell, effectively leaving the race for the AM assets wide open.