MEXICO CITY, March 8 Spain's Telefonica
(TEF.MC) may team up with small telephone and cable operators
in Mexico to bid on a fiber optic network meant to challenge
tycoon Carlos Slim's empire, a senior executive said on
Mexico's government is auctioning the use of fiber optic
strands owned by the state electricity monopoly to create a new
telecommunications backbone and give operators an alternative
to infrastructure controlled by Slim's Telmex TELMEXL.MX.
Last month, executives of Mexican cable operator Megacable
(MEGACPO.MX) said they would likely form a group with
Telefonica, broadcaster Televisa (TLVACPO.MX) and smaller local
operators to bid together in the auction, which is due to be
completed by June.
"We may go together," Francisco Gil, head of Telefonica in
Mexico, told reporters. "There could be a consortium."
Telmex owns nearly all Mexico's telephone cables and even
the copper wire leading into homes, giving it a powerful hand
against smaller companies eager to offer phone or Internet
services, but which need access to infrastructure.
Telmex has 80 percent of the fixed-line market in Mexico
while America Movil, also controlled by Slim, has more than 70
percent of the wireless market.
(Reporting by Tomas Sarmiento; Editing by Richard Chang)