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Iusacell Urges Phone Regulator to Curb America Movil’s Dominance

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Grupo Iusacell SA, a phone operator co-owned by Ricardo Salinas and Grupo Televisa SAB, asked Mexico’s regulator to impose new rules to rein in America Movil SAB’s dominance in the market.

Iusacell, which controls less than 10 percent of Mexico’s wireless industry, called for laws to regulate how America Movil shares its infrastructure for landlines and mobile phones and restrict what it charges other carriers to make calls across its networks, according to a document sent to the regulator, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute identified America Movil and Grupo Televisa -- a pay TV provider -- as dominant companies in a preliminary finding in December, its first legal step in developing tighter regulation to make those markets more competitive. America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, has about 70 percent of the country’s mobile-phone customers and 80 percent of its landlines.

The dominant company shouldn’t charge users more to call operators outside its own network or sell fully paid handsets with blocking devices that limit a customer’s options, Mexico City-based Iusacell said in the document, which was sent to the regulator in November.

“If IFT determines America Movil and Telmex dominant, it would certainly be positive for competition in the industry,” Eduardo Ruiz Vega, telecommunications regulatory compliance director of billionaire Salinas’s holding company, Grupo Salinas, said in an e-mail. Telmex is America Movil’s landline unit.

America Movil’s local loop -- the technical connection points from an operator directly to a customer’s home -- should also be shared with competitors on equal conditions, Iusacell said.

It also proposes forcing America Movil, which competes against Televisa for Internet and voice customers, to market each of its services separately and without bundling discounts.

A press official for Mexico City-based America Movil declined to comment on Iusacell’s proposals to the regulator. Requests for comment from the IFT weren’t immediately returned.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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