| MEXICO CITY, July 2
MEXICO CITY, July 2 Mexico's Senate on Friday
aims to pass long-delayed legislation setting out the fine print
of a major reform of the phone and TV markets that seeks to curb
the power of multibillionaire Carlos Slim and broadcaster
On Tuesday, the Senate presented a revised draft of the
so-called secondary laws needed to implement President Enrique
Pena Nieto's 2013 overhaul of the telecoms and broadcasting
sectors, where immense powers are concentrated in few hands.
Senate committees are due to debate the revised telecoms
bill later on Wednesday and lawmakers from the ruling
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said they expected it to
pass to the lower house for final approval next week.
That would open the door for Congress to pass separate
secondary legislation on Pena Nieto's most ambitious reform, the
opening of Mexico's oil and gas industry to private investment
after a 75-year state monopoly.
Slim's phone giant America Movil controls about 70
percent of Mexico's mobile market and 80 percent of the fixed
line business. Televisa, the world's biggest
provider of Spanish-language content, has over 60 percent of the
free-to-air TV market.
Javier Lozano, head of the Senate communications committee
and member of the opposition conservative National Action Party
(PAN), said he expected the upper house to vote on the secondary
laws on Friday, pushing them to the lower house.
Once there, quick approval was planned, said Eligio
Gonzalez, a PRI member of the lower house communications
"It could be voted on the floor (of the lower house) on
Tuesday," Gonzalez said.
Nevertheless, some opposition lawmakers are concerned the
telecoms laws still risk being watered down.
"With our legal system in Mexico and the power these
monopolies have, they've taken advantage of every loophole to
mount legal defenses," said Francisco Burquez, a PAN senator who
fears the laws may be changed to favor the dominant companies.
Pena Nieto's reform last September created a new regulator,
the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT), which
declared America Movil and Televisa dominant on the basis of
their market share, subjecting them to tougher regulation.
However, because the secondary telecoms laws have been
delayed more than six months, the regulations setting out the
IFT's precise remit have not yet been finalized. Hence changes
to the secondary laws could interfere with its faculties.
Critics of the laws said lawmakers aligned with Televisa in
particular are trying to make dominance dependent on a firm's
market share in the whole of the telecoms or broadcasting sector
rather than particular services, such as pay TV.
That, they say, could make it easier for companies to evade
tougher regulation. Both America Movil and Televisa have used
legal maneuvers to beat back efforts to regulate them in the
past, though the reform reduces their ability to do so.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Andrew Hay)