(Adds background on telecoms overhaul, secondary legislation)
MEXICO CITY, March 28 Mexico's new
telecommunications regulator has opened a probe into possible
monopolistic practices in the country's internet services market
following a complaint, the federal government's official gazette
said on Friday.
The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) is also
probing the distribution and sales of content transmitted
domestically by internet and pay television companies.
Billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil dominates
Mexico's telecoms market, and is the major player in internet
via its fixed line operator Telmex and mobile operator Telcel.
Broadcaster Televisa, meanwhile, dominates
cable-based pay television and internet services.
The IFT did not specifically name any company as the target
of its probe.
Mexico's government on Monday proposed giving the IFT
wide-reaching powers to police the operations of dominant
telecommunications companies and TV broadcasters, right down to
their prices and discounts.
The telecoms overhaul, a central plank of a wider raft of
economic measures ranging from taxes to energy that Pena Nieto
pushed through Congress last year, has raised hopes the
government is serious about finally breaking the stranglehold of
a select few over Latin America's No.2 economy.
Proposed legislation sent to Congress would flesh out a
constitutional reform approved last year that seeks to curb the
power of both Slim and Televisa.
The regulator will have sweeping powers to order companies
to sell assets, revoke concessions and share networks and
infrastructure, according to the bill sent to the Senate.
However, opposition lawmakers say the telecom bill
undermines the new watchdog by keeping key regulatory powers in
the executive's hands, in a spat that could stall the passage of
Carlos Slim Domit, Slim's son and chairman of
family-controlled America Movil, has criticized the telecoms
America Movil said in a statement on Thursday evening that
some of the new rules were confiscatory and rewarded a chronic
lack of investment by competitors to the detriment of consumers.
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Veronica Gomez; Editing by