Carlos Slim’s América Móvil fined by Mexico’s telecoms regulator
Mexico's telecoms regulator fined Telnor - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Carlos Slim’s América Móvil fined by Mexico’s telecoms regulator

Mexico City
Julia Love, Lizbeth Diaz, Stefanie Eschenbacher & Leslie Adler/REUTERS
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Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute fined the company for failing to share information about the availability of its telecom infrastructure with competitors

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América Móvil, the telecoms giant controlled by the family of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, said on Monday that one of its subsidiaries had been fined MXN $1.3 billion by Mexico’s telecoms regulator.

The company decried the fine.

The regulator, the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), said in a statement that it fined the company for failing to share information about the availability of its telecom infrastructure, such as posts, with competitors.

América Móvil said the regulator’s action reflected a “lack of due process,” and it vowed to exercise “all legal remedies to challenge it.”

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“This arbitrary, illegal, and disproportionate fine affects the legal certainty in a sector that requires important investments,” the company said in a statement.

América Móvil, which has long dominated Mexico’s telecoms market, is required to open its infrastructure to industry rivals in order to promote competition. But competitors grumble that they do not have sufficient access.

The fine was levied against one of América Móvil’s subsidiaries, Teléfonos del Noroeste, known as Telnor, after the IFT found the unit had failed to share the necessary information as of September 2017. The penalty represents 6% of Telnor’s revenues.

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Sharing information about infrastructure puts competitors on more even footing and “promotes the development of competition in the telecommunications sector,” the IFT said in a statement.

Sharing infrastructure among telecom companies can be a crucial way to extend coverage and bring down costs to consumers, said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics. Despite América Móvil’s protests, a USD $69 million fine is unlikely to change the company’s conduct, he said, due to its deep pockets.

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“Penalties of that amount, it’s like the cost of doing business,” he said.

If the fine withstands legal challenges, it is not expected to affect América Móvil’s consolidated financial results, analysts from Mexican bank Banorte wrote in a note to investors. Nevertheless, they warned América Móvil’s share price could be hit.

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