Mexico Congress votes for cell phone charges by the second

MEXICO CITY Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:44pm EST

MEXICO CITY Dec 18 (Reuters) - Mexico's lower house of Congress voted unanimously on Tuesday to change the country's telecom law to make cell phone operators charge customers per second of call, instead of rounding in minutes, as they had been doing for years.

The move had previously been approved by the Mexican Senate. The modification, which now only requires the final signature of president Enrique Pena Nieto, will become official 90 days after being published in the country's official gazette.

"Operators of public telecommunication networks will make the changes needed at their billing systems and infrastructure to present plans and fees using the second as a measurement unit," said the reform voted on by lawmakers on Tuesday.

Mexico has close to 100 million cell phone lines. About two thirds of them belong to America Movil, the mobile giant owned by the world's richest man Carlos Slim, followed by rivals Telefonica, NII Holding's Nextel and Iusacell, co-owned by broadcasters TV Azteca and Televisa .

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