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Mexico Telecommunications Bill Passes Congress, Heads to States

Mexico’s Senate passed a final version of a bill to create more competition in telecommunications, sending it to state governments for approval.

The proposal, also backed by President Enrique Pena Nieto, requires the signoff of a majority of legislatures in Mexico’s 31 states and capital. Under the bill, new government agencies would have the power to force companies that control more than 50 percent of the market to share or even sell assets.

Lawmakers aim to increase investment and reduce prices in the phone and pay-television industries and to create more choice in broadcast TV. The proposal would create tougher conditions for America Movil SAB, which has 70 percent of Mexico’s mobile-phone subscribers, and Grupo Televisa SAB, which gets 70 percent of the nation’s broadcast-television audience.

The new law would allow foreigners to take majority stakes in landline phone and cable networks for the first time. It also calls for the creation of new TV broadcasters through government auctions.

The bill was approved with the support of Mexico’s three largest parties, making its approval at the state level likely.

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