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Mexico’s Salinas Goes After Televisa With Cable-TV Service

Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Ricardo Salinas, Mexico’s second-richest person according to Forbes magazine, is challenging Grupo Televisa SA with a new cable-TV service in the nation’s capital.

Total Play, a unit of Salinas’s Mexico City-based mobile-phone carrier Grupo Iusacell SA, offers packages of video, Web and phone service in 13 Mexico City neighborhoods, with plans to expand, according to the company’s website. Iusacell executives declined to comment, said Dan McCosh, a company spokesman.

The video service gives closely held Iusacell, which began offering Internet and land-line phone calls in parts of Mexico’s three biggest cities this year, a new way to lure customers from Mexico City-based Televisa, which controls three of the nation’s largest cable-TV carriers. Salinas’s TV Azteca SA is the second-biggest broadcaster in Mexico after Televisa.

Total Play’s packages of video, voice and Internet range from 649 pesos to 1,399 pesos ($53 to $114) a month. The cheapest plan has download speeds of as much as 5 megabits a second. The comparable package at Televisa’s Mexico City carrier Empresas Cablevision SAB costs 699 pesos a month.

Televisa Executive Vice President Alfonso de Angoitia said last month the company is examining ways to enter the mobile-phone market, where Iusacell is the third-biggest carrier behind America Movil SAB and Telefonica SA.

Total Play also represents new competition for Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, according to Forbes. His Telefonos de Mexico SAB has about 70 percent of Mexico’s high-speed Internet subscribers and 79 percent of its phone customers. The company has a partnership with satellite-TV provider Dish Mexico, co-owned by EchoStar Corp. and MVS Comunicaciones SA.

Televisa fell 94 centavos, or 1.6 percent, to 56.63 pesos at 4:10 p.m. New York time in trading in Mexico City. Telmex dropped 6 centavos to 9.57 pesos.

To contact the reporter on this story: Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at Tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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