America Movil Gets Nod From Mexico Regulator to Offer TV Online

  • Ruling opens door fpr Slim’s company offer more video content
  • IFT said Uno TV service doesn’t violate ban on triple play

America Movil SAB can offer internet video without violating a ban on offering conventional TV service, Mexican regulators said, opening the door for billionaire Carlos Slim’s company to expand its online content.

Uno TV, a video service operated by America Movil’s Telmex landline unit, provides news and entertainment. That isn’t the same thing as distributing television signals, the Federal Telecommunications Institute said Thursday. The decision doesn’t rule out the possibility that online TV might be regulated at a later point, according to Gabriel Contreras, president of the agency.

Latin America’s largest wireless provider has sought permission for years to sell pay-TV packages bundled with Internet and landlines in Mexico to compete with triple-play offerings from Grupo Televisa SAB and Megacable Holdings SAB. Regulators looking to boost competition have prohibited America Movil’s entry, citing its large market share in the nation’s telecommunications sector.

“Having an internet portal does not equal offering TV services regulated by law,” Contreras said at a news conference in Mexico City. “This was not a process to determine if they’re able to offer pay TV, or if this online content should in any way be regulated.”

The ruling brings to a close a five-year battle between Slim and his competitors. Televisa CEO Emilio Azcarraga called for regulatory scrutiny of Slim’s online-video offerings in 2011. TV Azteca SAB, another broadcaster, complained to the nation’s phone regulator when Slim’s companies offered web broadcasts of the Pan American Games. Slim has expanded further into sports since, acquiring stakes in Latin American soccer teams and rights to show the Olympic games online.

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