Mexico's Senate approves telecom reform bill with changes

Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:22am EDT

MEXICO CITY, April 19 (Reuters) - A major reform bill to
increase competition in Mexico's phone and television markets,
dominated by Carlos Slim's America Movil and Emilio Azcarraga's
Televisa, was approved by the Senate in the early hours of
Friday with some changes.
    Senators early on Friday made a change that will allow
companies to suspend, pending appeal, fines or orders issued by
Mexico's competition authority.
    That waters down the initial bill, which sought to put an
end to companies using Mexico's byzantine legal system to fight
regulatory decisions.
    Still, companies will not be able to appeal decisions made
by the proposed new telecom regulator, which also has powers to
fine and order asset sales by companies, lawmakers said.
    The bill, the first major reform from President Enrique Pena
Nieto who took office in December, will now return to Mexico's
lower house for approval.
    Four senate commissions on Thursday approved the reform,
which defines dominant players as those controlling more than
half of their respective markets. 
    Uncertainty over the final details of the bill has been
dragging on the share prices of America Movil and Televisa.
    Slim's America Movil controls some 80 percent of the fixed
line business and around 70 percent of the mobile market.
Televisa has more than 60 percent of the TV market.
    America Movil shares are down more than 16 percent, while
Televisa shares have fallen almost 9 percent this year.
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