America Movil Says Two-Year TV Delay Hurts Competition

America Movil SAB, which serves about 70 percent of Mexico’s mobile-phone customers, said a proposed bill that pushes back its plan to enter the pay-TV business hurts competition in that industry.

The company said yesterday in an e-mailed statement that the Mexican government would extend a lack of competition in the television market by forcing it to wait at least 24 months to apply for a pay-TV license, according to a bill sent to Congress by President Enrique Pena Nieto earlier this week.

America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, is seeking to expand into pay TV as Mexico’s telecommunications regulator overhaul clamps down on its power over the phone industry. The bill also affects Emilio Azcarraga’s Grupo Televisa SAB, which was declared dominant in the Mexican broadcast market, where 96 percent of all viewers are split among two companies.

The bill “creates entry barriers to highly concentrated markets like broadcasting and restricted television, thereby protecting the dominant economic agent in broadcasting,” America Movil said.

Mexico’s telecommunication regulator, known as IFT, said today it began a probe on a complaint of monopolistic practices in the country’s Internet and pay-TV markets. The agency will look into whether companies displaced others by blocking their entry and offering exclusive advantages. It didn’t say who filed the complaint.

Pena Nieto’s proposal includes other restrictions that affect America Movil. Slim’s company wouldn’t be able to charge fees to competitors for incoming phone calls as long as it serves more than 50 percent of subscribers. Its rivals, such as Telefonica SA and Grupo Iusacell SA, would still will be able to bill America Movil when its users call their customers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Laya in Mexico City at playa2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at tharrison5@bloomberg.net John Lear

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