America Movil floats discussing Mexico pay TV entrance with U.S. officials

The logo of America Movil is pictured on the wall of a reception area in the company's corporate offices in Mexico City, Mexico, May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

MEXICO CITY, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Mexico's America Movil said on Tuesday it wanted to meet with U.S. officials to discuss its potential entry into Mexican pay TV, arguing that the move would boost coverage, penetration and connectivity in the market.

Executives at the telecom firm were speaking a day after Reuters reported U.S. officials had raised concerns to Mexico about the implications for competition if the Mexican regulators allowed America Movil to enter its domestic pay TV market.

America Movil's entrance into the sector would be a "win-win for everyone," the company's general counsel Alejandro Cantu told a news conference, arguing that whoever believed it would violate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade pact "does not have the complete information."

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Controlled by the family of billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, America Movil dominates the telecommunications market in Mexico, and its emergence on the pay TV scene could hit rivals, including U.S. companies operating in Mexico.

America Movil's board chairman, Carlos Slim Domit, told the news conference the company would be happy to meet U.S. officials to discuss its business plans, including on pay TV.

"We think there's an opportunity to sit down with them and talk about all this," Slim Domit said.

He added the company was looking to arrange a meeting with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which had raised the concerns about the company entering Mexican pay TV.

Company officials said that moving into the sector in Mexico would imply an additional investment of 8 billion pesos ($387 million) to expand its fiber optic network.

A decision on pay TV is expected soon and if approved, America Movil's entry would have major implications for the likes of U.S. peer AT&T Inc (T.N), which operates in Mexico, and Mexico's dominant broadcaster, Grupo Televisa .

America Movil currently has a 70% market share for mobile internet services in Mexico and more than 62% of mobile phone services, according to the Mexican telecom regulator.

($1 = 20.6455 Mexican pesos)

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Reporting by Cassandra Garrison Editing by Aurora Ellis and Alistair Bell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Mexico-based reporter focusing on climate change and companies with an emphasis on telecoms. Previously based in Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires covering the Argentine debt crisis, the tussle for influence between the United States and China in Latin America and the coronavirus pandemic.