Mexico's president signs telecoms reform rules into law

MEXICO CITY Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:45pm EDT

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim speaks on his mobile phone during an official visit by Portugal's Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho at the National Palace in Mexico City October 16, 2013. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim speaks on his mobile phone during an official visit by Portugal's Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho at the National Palace in Mexico City October 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Edgard Garrido

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto on Monday signed into law new rules for the telecommunications and broadcasting industries that are designed to curb the power of billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil and broadcaster Televisa.

The legislation, approved by Congress last week, fleshes out a constitutional reform that Pena Nieto pushed through Congress last year to spur greater competition in the telecommunications market that is dominated by Slim.

"This reform will promote greater competition, more and better conditions, better coverage and service quality, as well as lower prices and costs," Pena Nieto said at an event in Mexico City where he spoke before government officials and telecoms industry executives.

Approval of so-called secondary laws was delayed about eight months, complicating the work of a new regulator that is charged with reducing the power of broadcaster Televisa, which dominates television markets, and America Movil.

America Movil, which has some 70 percent of Mexico's mobile market and over 60 percent of fixed-lines, said last week it would sell assets to avoid regulations that force the company to lower connection costs for competitors and share infrastructure.

After finishing the telecommunications bill last week, lawmakers are now turning toward legislation that will complete the government's most ambitious reform, the opening of Mexico's oil and gas industry to private investment after a 75-year state monopoly.

(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Diane Craft)

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