Mexico denies Slim's Telmex right to offer TV

May 28, 2011 - 12:44 AM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican regulatory agency on Friday denied billionaire Carlos Slim's request to offer television services through his giant telephone company, saying its practices are discriminatory toward competitors.

The Communications and Transportation Department said Slim's Telefonos de Mexico SAB does not meet federal requirements for connecting other carriers to its network efficiently.

The federal agency's statement said Telmex has also failed to provide enough information to the government.

Telmex, which controls nearly 80 percent of Mexico's fixed phone lines, can reapply for television rights after changing its practices, the agency said.

A court ordered Mexican regulators earlier this month to respond to Slim's long-standing request for permission to provide TV service over Telmex's phone lines, and the government had agreed to rule within May.

"We don't agree with the decision made by authorities," Telmex spokesman Renato Flores said. "We think it does not meet with what the court ordered."

Flores said Telmex planned to appeal the decision in court.

Telmex wants to offer television in a bundled service that would also include telephone and Internet.

The bid by Slim, listed by Forbes magazine as the world's richest man, has been fought by the Mexican television giants Televisa and TV Azteca, which have countered by seeking entry into the cellphone market. A separate Slim company, Telcel, has 75 percent of Mexico's cellphone market.

Telcel has its own troubles.

Accusations that the company overcharges other carriers to connect calls to its cellphone customers are the subject of an unprecedented $1 billion (12 billion peso) fine in April by the antitrust agency.

The Federal Competition Commission said in April that Telcel engages in "relative monopolistic practices."

The fine against Telcel is the maximum penalty possible and 10 percent of the company's assets.