By Cassandra Garrison
MEXICO CITY, Jan 25 (Reuters) – The giant América Móvil said on Tuesday it wants to meet with US officials to discuss its potential entry into pay TV in Mexico, arguing that the move would boost coverage, penetration and connectivity in the market.
Executives from the telecommunications company spoke a day after Reuters reported that US officials had raised concerns with Mexico about the implications for competition if the Mexican regulator allows América Móvil to enter the local pay-TV business.
América Móvil’s entry into the sector would be a “win-win for everyone,” said the company’s general counsel, Alejandro Cantú, at a press conference, arguing that whoever believes that it would violate the trade pact between Canada, the United States and Mexico “does not have all the complete information.”
Controlled by the family of billionaire Carlos Slim Helú, América Móvil dominates the telecommunications market in Mexico and its appearance on the pay television scene could hit its rivals, including US companies operating in Mexico.
The president of the board of directors of América Móvil, Carlos Slim Domit, said at the same conference that company executives would be delighted to meet with US officials to discuss their business plans, including pay television.
“We think this is an opportunity to sit down and talk about all of this,” Slim Domit said.
The executive added that the company was looking to set up a meeting with the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), which had raised concerns about América Móvil’s entry into the pay TV business.
Company executives said that entering the sector in Mexico would imply an additional investment of 8,000 million pesos (387 million dollars) to expand its fiber optic network.
A decision on the matter is expected soon and, if approved, América Móvil’s entry would have important implications for peer companies such as US-based AT&T Inc, which operates in Mexico, and the dominant local network, Grupo Televisa.
América Móvil currently has a 70% market share in mobile internet services in the North American country and more than 62% of mobile telephony services, according to Mexico’s telecoms regulator IFT.
(1 dollar = 20.6455 Mexican pesos)
(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison, translated by Adriana Barrera, edited by Raúl Cortés)