Mexican watchdog opens probe into telecoms and TV sectors

MEXICO CITY Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:45pm EST

MEXICO CITY Dec 17 (Reuters) - Mexico's telecommunications watchdog has opened a probe into a complaint of excess concentration of power in the telephone and television markets, industries dominated by phone company America Movil and broadcaster Televisa.

"The procedure is to determine whether there is a concentration that would have the object or effect of diminishing, impairing or preventing ... free competition in the markets identified," the government's official gazette said on Tuesday.

The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) will have between 30 and 120 working days to carry out the investigation, which was initiated after a complaint filed by an unidentified party.

America Movil, controlled by multi-billionaire Carlos Slim, has about 70 percent of the Mexican mobile phone market and some 80 percent of the fixed line business. Televisa has more than 60 percent of the television market.

A spokeswoman for the IFT said the probe was separate from the watchdog's ongoing investigation into which market players are believed to be dominant in Mexico.

That probe will form the basis for applying tougher new regulations drawn up earlier this year following a sweeping reform of regulation in the telecoms sector.

America Movil and Televisa have both said they are under review by IFT to see if they are dominant. Analysts expect the watchdog to hit both companies with tougher regulation.

Spokespeople for America Movil and Televisa did not immediately respond for comment on Tuesday's report.

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