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Mexico’s Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Telecommunications Reform Law

LADB Article ID: 80337
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2017-07-05
By: Carlos Navarro

Four years after the Mexican Congress approved comprehensive telecommunications reforms, the country’s high court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, SCJN) has agreed to consider a complaint by dominant cell company América Móvil that could revert some of the progress achieved with the opening of the telephone sector. A key objective of the reforms was to create competition by preventing a single company from gaining control over key aspects of telecommunications. At the time the legislation was approved, TELMEX-Telcel, a conglomerate owned by billionaire Carlos Slim, controlled 70% of cellular telephone service in Mexico and 80% of landlines. Slim, who filed legal action against the reforms in 2015, has challenged a provision in the law that prohibited his cellular company, América Móvil, a subsidiary of Telcel, from charging other telephone carriers for connecting calls made to customers on its network. The legislation allows those same rivals to charge América Móvil for connecting its calls to their customers. In filing the complaint, Slim and his legal team argue that Congress violated the Constitution by establishing a schedule of tariffs, a faculty reserved for the telecommunications regulator, the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT). Furthermore, Slim’s lawyers contend that Congress lacked the authority to create rules that singled out América Móvil for tougher penalties.

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