Carlos Slim's America Movil has unveiled plans to offload unspecified assets in order to reduce its market share to below 50%, thereby avoiding regulations being brought in to curb its power.
In a statement published late Tuesday, the Mexico-based telco giant said its board has voted in favour of selling parts of its business to carrier independent of America Movil. The sale is conditional on the company's fixed-line business Telmex and its mobile arm Telcel no longer being considered dominant players and therefore not subject to asymmetric regulation.
It is also conditional on it being able to offer a full suite of services including pay TV – a market it is currently barred from due to the power of its telco businesses. America Movil also wants to ensure it receives a fair offer for the assets.
The announcement comes as Mexico's parliament continues the process of passing new legislation aimed at increasing competition in the country's telecoms and TV sectors. Watchdog Ifetel in March declared America Movil a 'preponderant economic agent' after it found Telcel and Telmex enjoyed market shares of 70% and 80% respectively, comfortably exceeding its threshold of 50%. America Movil disputed the ruling, but nonetheless formed a committee to weigh its options.
After a 17-hour debate, Mexico's upper house voted in favour of the legislation on Saturday. It then passed to the lower house – the Chamber of Deputies – which is expected to pass the law this week.
For America Movil, the new law would subject it to asymmetric interconnection regulation. It would also have to conform to regulations regarding local loop unbundling conditions and rates, infrastructure sharing, and wholesale roaming rates for MNOs and MVNOs. By shedding assets it hopes to cut its market share and duck these rules.
In addition to asset sales, America Movil has also pledged to separate its towers, base stations and passive infrastructure into a new business unit and provide access to rival players.
As a parting shot, America Movil could not resist pointing out the important role the company has played in the development of Mexico's telecom industry.
"America Movil's investments in Mexico and Latin America have been instrumental in the expansion of its telecommunications network and services, and have resulted in America Movil having the most advanced technology," the company said. "These investments have resulted in important and continuous productivity increases which have been passed on to our clients."