(Adds context on the bill)
MEXICO CITY, July 3 Mexican Senate committees on
Thursday gave their general approval to legislation needed to
implement a reform of the phone and TV markets that seeks to
rein in telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim and broadcaster Televisa.
Reservations raised by the committees over the so-called
secondary laws will be debated on the floor of Senate, which is
expected to put the legislation to a full vote on Friday.
Lawmakers from the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party
have said they expect the legislation, which has been delayed
for more than six months, to pass to the lower house for final
approval next week.
President Enrique Pena Nieto's reform last September created
a new regulator, the Federal Institute of Telecommunications
(IFT), which declared Carlos Slim's America Movil and
broadcaster Televisa dominant on the basis of their
market share, subjecting them to tougher regulation.
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.
However, because of the legislative delay, the regulations
setting out the IFT's precise remit have not yet been finalized.
Any changes made to the secondary laws could interfere with its
Critics of the proposed legislation 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
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 Christine Murray and Dave Graham; Editing by