MEXICO CITY, March 17 Mexican telecoms tycoon
Carlos Slim, whose wealth has taken a knock since the government
on Monday unveiled a reform bill to overhaul the industry he
dominates, said on Sunday he welcomed the plan as a boon for
Hailed as the biggest shake-up of Mexico's phone and
television market in decades, the bill aims to boost foreign
competition and give regulators the power to force firms to sell
assets if they have more than 50 percent of the market.
Slim, the world's richest man, controls about 80 percent of
Mexico's fixed line business and 70 percent of the mobile market
through his phone company America Movil. He declined to discuss
the impact of the reform on his firm at an event in Mexico City.
But speaking as co-president of the broadband commission of
the International Telecommunication Union, an arm of the United
Nations that seeks to expand access to communications technology
worldwide, Slim praised the new bill.
"The telecommunications law ... coincides with everything
this commission has sought: universal service, better prices,
higher speeds and convergence", Slim told reporters.
The reform bill was approved by a committee in the lower
house of Congress on Thursday with no changes and will move to
the Senate once the full house votes on it, likely this week.
The bill has hit America Movil's shares hard.
Since Monday, the company's stock has lost some 13 percent,
and it is down more than a fifth year to date. It also suffered
last month when the company released fourth-quarter results that
fell far short of expectations. The company has lost about $19
billion year-to-date in market value.
Asked whether he thought the bill would increase foreign and
domestic investment Slim said: "hopefully."