Mexico’s America Movil details argument in telecom dispute

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil argued on Wednesday against rules brought in by an overhaul of the country’s telecommunications industry, saying in a statement they were unfair and had led to a loss of its business rights.

In the latest chapter in a fight that could shape the future of competition in the sector, the supreme court is considering whether to undo parts of an overhaul that tilted the playing field against Slim’s long-dominant America Movil and led to steep drops in prices that Mexicans pay for cell phone service and internet access.

Slim’s lawyers argued that unfair “asymmetrical” rules prohibit America Movil from charging other telephone carriers for connecting their calls made to customers on its network, but let those companies charge America Movil for connecting its calls to their customers.

The so-called “zero tariff” applied to Slim’s company has undermined the power of the sector’s regulator IFT as well as the rights of America Movil units Telmex and Telcel under past concessions awarded to them by the government, the statement said.

The company said it has been harmed by the elimination of its rights to “cost recovery, economic stability and financial balance” granted by the concessions.

“Asymmetrical (rules) does not mean free,” the company said in the statement.

America Movil holds over two-thirds of Mexico’s mobile subscriptions.

The landmark telecommunications reform was a major political victory for President Enrique Pena Nieto, and from the beginning was designed to rein in America Movil and help smaller players in the market.

The Supreme Court has not said when it might rule on the case.


(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)