Mexico's new telecoms regulator says stymied by judge's ruling

MEXICO CITY Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:21am EST

MEXICO CITY Feb 11 (Reuters) - Mexico's new telecoms regulator said on Tuesday a court ruling bars it from resolving a dispute over whether satellite and cable operators should carry free-to-air stations.

Gabriel Contreras, head of the newly created Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), said his hands are tied given the judge's decision, despite an overhaul of the telecoms sector aimed at fostering competition.

"We received the federal district judge's notification in which his ruling indicates that this institute doesn't have the authority to render a decision on an issue of retransmission," Contreras told reporters, adding the regulator was seeking legal advice.

Mexico last year approved a reform to overhaul the telecoms and television sectors, respectively, long-dominated by tycoon Carlos Slim's America Movil and broadcaster Televisa , the world's biggest provider of Spanish-language content.

Satellite company Dish Mexico said last week the regulator should declare broadcaster Grupo Televisa a dominant company as part of its effort to increase competition in the sector.

Dish is already broadcasting free-to-air television channels from Televisa and TV Azteca.