Mexican telecoms regulator the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) is said to have found undisclosed economic links between fixed line incumbent Telmex and pay-TV provider Dish Mexico that may breach local antitrust rules. According to Reuters, local news source El Financiero cited a report sent to both operators, with this said to have noted: ‘The alliance between Dish Mexico Holdings and its subsidiaries with Telmex … has an economic aim of giving Telmex influence over Dish Mexico’s business, allowing the two companies to coordinate the behaviour and decision making of Dish Mexico in the market.’
With Telmex’s operating licence preventing it from offering TV services directly, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that in November 2008 it formed a partnership with satellite TV provider MVS Comunicaciones for the provision of a TV broadcast service, with Telmex for its part responsible for billing. Later that same month Dish Mexico, a joint venture between MVS Multivison and Echostar Corporation, was established, with Telmex unveiled as the billing agent for the new TV provider’s services. Canitec, the Mexican cable TV operators association, immediately objected to the move, claiming that it was illegal, but despite continued objections to the tie-up, the association between the companies has continued thus far with no regulatory restrictions imposed on it.
Now, however, should the watchdog conclude that Telmex has indeed breached its concession, it could fine the telco. It is understood that both Telmex and Dish Mexico had been given 30 working days to respond to the claims, with that deadline actually due to expire this week. For its part, Dish Mexico has denied any claims of impropriety, with it cited as saying: ‘Telmex is not a partner, it is not a shareholder, it has no executives nor any other mechanism of influence over the management of Dish.’