(Recasts with regulator statement)
MEXICO CITY, June 15 Mexico's telecom regulator
on Wednesday proposed sanctions on five mobile phone providers
for substandard service.
The watchdog for the sector, known as Cofetel, said there
would be 16 sanctions against the providers for breaching a
service quality plan that dates back to 2003.
Cofetel did not specify what the sanctions would be or who
they would target.
Two of tycoon Carlos Slim's phone companies, wireless leader
America Movil and fixed-line giant Telefonos de Mexico, have
come under scrutiny from authorities in a bid to curb their
power in the market and allow other competitors to grow.
Just last week Cofetel slashed connection fees that Telmex
charges on long-distance calls,
particularly in rural and suburban areas where the company is
the only operator.
In April, Mexico's Federal Competition Commission slapped a
$1 billion fine on America Movil, accusing it of abusing its
dominant position in the market.
America Movil is the biggest cellphone
provider in Mexico and Latin America and Slim, earning a fortune
on the back of his telecommunications empire, is the world's
Last year, Cofetel found more than half of all the calls
handled by Telcel, the commercial brand under which Slim's
America Movil operates in Mexico, failed to connect over a
period of about two months.
Telecommunications services in many Mexican cities are prone
to problems year-round: cellphone networks often clog, resulting
in failed calls or an inability to text message, while Internet
and cable television services can be down for hours.
(Reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz and Mica Rosenberg; Editing
by Muralikumar Anantharaman)