Mar 22, 2013

Mexico's lower house gives general approval for telecoms bill

By Dave Graham and Miguel Gutierrez
Mexico City, Mar 22, 2013

Mexico's lower house of Congress gave broad approval Thursday night to a telecommunications reform that threatens to loosen tycoon Carlos Slim's grip on the phone market and broadcaster Televisa's dominance of the airwaves.

The proposal attracted overwhelming support, with 414 lawmakers in favor of the reform and only 50 opposed.

Lawmakers must still vote on amendments to the bill, which has dampened confidence in Slim's prospects, though investors are hopeful the Mexican tycoon can at least partly offset curbs to his phone empire by entering the television market.

The bill, presented by the government on March 11, aims to boost competition in the telecoms sector by increasing foreign investment and giving regulators the power to force companies with a market share above 50 percent to sell assets.

"In our country there is just one territory and it is not the territory or property of any one telephone company," said Julio Cesar Moreno, a congressman and member of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, during the debate.  Read more. 

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