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Billionaire Ergen Asks Mexico to Let Dish Use Signals

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Charlie Ergen pressed Mexico’s government to let satellite carrier Dish Mexico keep retransmitting broadcasters’ television programming, saying the move will help increase competition.

Dish, co-owned by Ergen’s EchoStar Corp. and Mexican partner MVS Comunicaciones SA, has been carrying channels owned by Grupo Televisa SAB and TV Azteca SAB since September, claiming a law passed last year gives it authority to do so. The broadcasters have asked regulators to halt the retransmission, arguing that Dish hasn’t gotten permission from regulators.

“EchoStar trusts that the Mexican government will continue down its current path,” Ergen said in a statement. “Such assurance will encourage further investment by competitive companies such as Dish Mexico.”

Ergen’s comments insert him in the middle of a mounting battle in Mexico’s telecommunications industry. Dish Mexico has a marketing partnership with America Movil SAB, the phone company controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, and both companies compete with cable-TV carriers owned by Televisa.

The telecommunications law passed last year was designed to increase competition in the phone industry dominated by America Movil and in the media business, where Televisa and Azteca have almost all broadcast viewers.

Press representatives for Televisa and TV Azteca didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

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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