July 5, 2014 / 2:30 PM / 4 years ago

Mexico senate approves fine print of telecoms overhaul

MEXICO CITY, July 5 (Reuters) - Mexico’s Senate on Saturday gave its full 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.

The Senate voted 72 to 26 to pass the laws in both general and particular terms after an all-night session where opposition senators raised hundreds of reservations.

The so-called “secondary laws”, which have been delayed by more than six months, will now pass to the lower house for final approval next week.

The legislation fleshes out a constitutional reform that was proposed by President Enrique Pena Nieto and approved by Congress last year.

It created a new regulator the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) which is charged with reducing the market power of broadcaster Grupo Televisa and Carlos Slim’s America Movil.

Slim controls around 80 percent of the country’s fixed lines and 70 percent of mobile while Televisa has more than 60 percent of the free-to-air TV market as well as being the biggest player in pay TV, if its cable and satellite business are combined.

Televisa was declared dominant in broadcast TV, but not in the pay TV market.

Critics of the legislation said the law would allow Televisa to continue to gain market share in the pay TV market without facing regulation.

Pena Nieto tweeted once the law had been passed saying it would allow greater competition and better tariffs. (Reporting by Christine Murray and Michael O‘Boyle; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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