Slim's chances turn to none, for now, as court derails Mexican TV hopes - report

MEXICO CITY Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:58pm EST

MEXICO CITY Jan 23 (Reuters) - A Mexican court decision has dealt a fresh setback to telecom tycoon Carlos Slim's campaign to obtain government approval to offer television services in the country, El Economista newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The court's decision means Slim's phone giant, Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex), will have to resubmit an application to change its operating license under the new administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto to include television.

Officials with Telmex, the main fixed-line phone operator in Mexico, could not immediately comment on the report.

The company has unsuccessfully tried for years to enter the market led by broadcasters Televisa and TV Azteca , although it has expanded its online programming and streaming offers via a free web channel, UnoTV.

Under the administration of Felipe Calderon, whose presidential term expired on Dec. 1, the company was required to open its network to smaller competitors, a mandate Telmex has said it has complied with.

Slim already offers triple-play bundles in most of Latin America, which combine Internet, TV and phone services, but his bid to do the same in his home country remains elusive.

In Mexico, Telmex is the leading provider of Internet and fixed-line phone services, while parent America Movil dominates the cellphone market.

Mexican regulators on Wednesday moved closer to setting guidelines for the fees telecom operators charge each other, a process that sprang from the desire to curb the power of Slim in the local telecom market.

Sector analysts believe Slim will eventually obtain the TV approval.

Pena Nieto has committed to strengthen competition in Mexico, including in the telecommunications industry, but has yet to submit a plan to accomplish this.