Mexican lawmakers have passed the final part of a landmark reform to try and break the near-monopolies of two companies controlling the majority of the Mexican telecom market.
Mexico’s telecommunication industry has been a tale of two near monopolies for years. Billionaire Carlos Slim is the chairman and chief executive of Telmex and América Móvil. Squeezed between the two giants are consumers like Almendra, who’s faced with limited options and one of the highest phone tariffs in the world.
Mexican lawmakers are trying to break the two behemoth’s stranglehold. They’ve passed a reform which limits each to less than 50 percent of the share in their respective markets.
“The consumer won’t be the hostage to these companies,” said congressman Hector Gutierrez Garza. “There will be more competition and that will obviously mean prices (will) go down.”
Under the new rules, owner Carlos Slim must share his company’s extensive infrastructure with other providers for free, a service he’s been charging them for years. Rivals are already sniffing new opportunities.
TV viewers will also have more options. The Mexican government is auctioning off two new channels to compete with Televisa, but the cable TV market remains wide open to both telecom superpowers. That gap in the reform has been criticized, as have new powers granted to the government to monitor their citizen’s phone and Internet records in order, they say, to fight crime.
One thing everyone seems to agree on is that this reform is long overdue — for which a new regulatory body has been set up to enforce. It will be two years before the reform comes into effect and consumers like Almendra can see if what’s on paper really translates to more options and better prices. CCTV’s John Holman reports from Mexico.