Telmex: DISH no substitute for Mexico TV license

MEXICO CITY Tue May 31, 2011 7:05pm EDT

MEXICO CITY May 31 (Reuters) - Mexico's fixed-line phone giant Telmex will not use its partnership with satellite TV firm DISH Mexico as a substitute for its own television license, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

Mexico's top telecommunications regulator last week rejected a Telmex TELMEXL.MX bid to enter the domestic television market, saying the phone giant had not met demands for fair play in providing service to phone competitors.

Telmex, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, offers billing and collection service to DISH Mexico, a leading satellite television provider, but the phone giant says that partnership is no substitute for its own television license.

"That is not our business," Telmex spokesman Arturo Elias said of DISH Mexico, insisting that Telmex would not use its dealings with the satellite television provider to circumvent rules that keep it out of pay TV.

DISH Mexico is a partnership between MVS Communications, which provides media, pay TV and internet services, and satellite provider Echostar U.S. (SATS.O), which operates satellite television and is a strong competitor to Sky, controlled by Televisa (TLVACPO.MX).

The discount television service offered by DISH has proven popular with more than 2 million subscribers currently and is expected to exceed 6 million by the end of next year, the company has said. Telmex and DISH Mexico have a joint campaign that markets the services in the same package of phone, internet, and pay TV.

Slim said in late January that his real ambition is to win the television concession which would buttress his fixed-line telephone business and allow the company to offer triple play.

Mexico's cable television providers say that DISH Mexico's television service already enjoys a market advantage because it benefits from the market heft of Telmex, which controls 70 percent of fixed telephone lines.

(Reporting by Anahi Rama; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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