Could Regulatory Changes In Mexico Signal The End For Carlos Slim’s Empire?

April 10, 2014

carlos slimForbes, 4/9/14

Carlos Slim, Latin America’s wealthiest businessman, has long enjoyed a dominant position in Mexico’s telecom sector. New rules spearheaded by the administration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, however, could threaten Slim’s position in the market.

Right now Slim and his company, America Movil, have a behemoth presence in Mexico. According to The Economist, “América Móvil controls 80% of fixed-line and 70% of mobile subscriptions, giving it a massive advantage when it comes to selling internet access. Although his businesses are exceptionally profitable by global standards, the services are slow and expensive, and their uptake low, even by Latin American standards.”

Slim’s net worth is estimated at $71 billion, more than double the annual revenues generated by Mexico’s entire telecom sector. According some estimates Slim’s companies cost Mexico $129 billion over the course of four years, an amount that is equal to 2% of Mexico’s GDP.

Mexican Telecom Bill Stirs Debate

March 31, 2014

drawing bar chartThe Wall Street Journal, 3/28/14

A telecom bill presented this week by President Enrique Peña Nieto to open up the market to more competition hasn’t pleased many in Mexico: longtime dominant players such as Carlos Slim’s phone company labeled some parts of the bill “confiscatory,” while the heads of the main opposition parties say it doesn’t go far enough. Conflicting views show how sensitive and controversial the subject of Mexico’s telephone and TV markets have become.

Hopes for change are high among Mexicans, who have seen Mr. Slim’s América Móvil and giant broadcaster Grupo Televisa  almost monopolizing the industries for decades. Stakes are also high for the companies, which could see their profit margins decrease. Mr. Peña Nieto’s government maintains that the proposed telecom bill is what Mexico needs to make it easier for small players and newcomers to gain market share, ultimately improving service and lower tariffs for Mexicans.

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Mexico’s America Movil connects cable linking Latam, U.S.

December 18, 2013

man with phoneReuters 12/17/2013

Latin America’s biggest phone company, America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, said on Tuesday it had connected its Mexican lines to a newly built $1.1 billion submarine cable that stretches from South America to the United States.

The cable, designed for high-speed data transmission, will boost service to America Movil’s customers, particularly in Latin America where demand for internet capacity is rising rapidly, the company said.

The cable, which took 19 months to lay, will connect the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

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Slim’s Billionaire Rivalry Plays Out on Mexico’s Soccer Fields

December 11, 2013

Bloomberg, 12/11/2013

Soccer StadiumMexican billionaires Carlos Slim and Emilio Azcarraga, who typically go head-to-head for phone customers and TV viewers, are taking their rivalry to the soccer field this week in their country’s championship game.

Slim, the owner of the nation’s biggest wireless carrier, is an investor in Club Leon, which is a finalist in Mexico’s national soccer league. The team is squaring off against reigning champ Club America, controlled by TV magnate Azcarraga, in a two-game series starting tomorrow in Leon’s home stadium.

Caught in the crossfire are the legions of Mexican soccer fans who won’t be able to watch because of an agreement to televise the match only on cable for the first time. After Slim’s America Movil  acquired a stake in Leon last year, the club signed a broadcast-rights deal with cable’s Fox Sports.

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Mexico watchdog weighs if America Movil, Televisa dominate sector

December 6, 2013

Reuters, 12/6/2013

Carlos Slim

Giant Mexican telco America Movil and broadcaster Televisa, the two companies likely to be most affected by the country’s telecoms reform, said on Thursday the regulator has told them it was determining whether they are dominant players in the sector.

The notifications are the first step in a process mandated by a telecoms reform passed by Mexico’s Congress earlier this year that gives the new Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) powers to clamp down on dominant players and spur competition.

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Secondary laws for Mexico telecoms overhaul to be delayed -lawmakers

November 25, 2013

Reuters, 11/23/2013

Carlos Slim

Legislation to implement a major overhaul of Mexico’s telecommunications industry will not be approved until early next year, pushing back a deadline set for December, two senior lawmakers said on Saturday.

The secondary laws set out the fine print for a telecoms reform promulgated in June by President Enrique Pena Nieto which gives regulators sweeping powers to rein in billionaire Carlos Slim’s telecoms giant America Movil and dominant broadcaster Televisa.

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Mexico to identify possible telecom antitrust targets ‘very soon

November 12, 2013

carlos slimReuters, 11/11/2013

Mexico’s new telecommunications watchdog said on Monday it may identify this month which companies dominate the local market, likely paving the way for tougher regulation against telecom company America Movil and broadcaster Televisa.

Gabriel Contreras, president of the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), said the watchdog would in the near future inform the companies it had determined to be dominant, adding that it could be as soon as this month.

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Mexico’s America Movil gives up plans to buy Dutch carrier KPN

October 17, 2013

america movilThe Washington Post, 10/17/2013

Mexican carrier America Movil said Wednesday it has abandoned plans to tender an offer for Dutch telecom Royal KPN NV.

America Movil’s bid for KPN hit a major speed bump in late August when an independent group established to protect the company’s interests, the KPN Foundation, branded the takeover attempt as hostile.

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Mexico telecom law should cut Slim market share below 50 percent: lawmaker

October 11, 2013

Reuters, 10/10/2013

Carlos Slim

Mexico’s new telecoms reform should be able to reduce tycoon Carlos Slim’s share of the local mobile phone market to less than 50 percent in the next five years, an influential opposition lawmaker said on Wednesday. The law, broadly backed across the political spectrum in Mexico, targets Slim’s giant phone company America Movil  and rival Emilio Azcarraga’s broadcaster Televisa, powerful symbols of the power wielded by a select group of families over Latin America’s second biggest economy.

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Mexico’s Senate OKs members of new telecoms regulator

September 11, 2013

Reuters, 9/11/2013

carlos slimMexico’s Senate on Tuesday approved seven nominees to head a new telecommunications regulator created by a sweeping sector overhaul that seeks to boost competition and tame billionaire Carlos Slim.

The regulator, known as Ifetel, will replace a weaker regulatory agency and have new powers to police a telecommunications market dominated by Slim’s America Movil and Televisa. America Movil controls some 80 percent of the fixed line business in Mexico and about 70 percent of its cell phone market. Televisa has more than 60 percent of the TV market.

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