(Bloomberg) — America Movil held responsible AT&T to come between her and a longed-for television license in a dispute that has escalated to public accusations as regulators decide whether to grant the permits.
The president of America Movil, Carlos Slim Domit, said this Tuesday in a peculiar press conference that the performance of AT&T in Mexico it has more to do with the appointment of “mediocre” executives than with the lack of competition in the industry.
officials of the Office of the United States Trade Representative raised concerns about fair competition in Mexico’s telecommunications sector earlier this month, a USTR spokesman told BloombergNews. Those concerns related to the request for America Movil of one pay tv license through its Claro brand, according to a meeting document seen by Bloomberg.
Slim Domit suggested that AT&T was involved in those complaints. AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We will contact the USTR to discuss their concerns,” said Daniel Hajj, CEO of América Móvil. “We will ask them to look at telecommunications prices in the United States and compare them with those in Mexico.”
For his part, the legal director of the company, Alejandro Cantú, said that a television license would not violate the North American trade agreement.
The Mexican telecommunications regulator, IFT, is studying the possibility of granting América Móvil a highly coveted license to offer TVPresident Commissioner Adolfo Cuevas said in December. In 2014, América Móvil was declared the leading player in the market by the IFT and was prohibited from offering additional services such as TV.
TO Telmex, America Movil’s fixed-line unit, was also banned from offering television when it received its original concession in 1990. But clear tv, the unit that made this new request, did not yet exist when that decision was made, Cuevas said. That could potentially open a legal window for the company.
Granting the license would expand the market and bring in additional competition, Hajj said. The company would invest an additional 8 billion pesos (about 387 million dollars) to develop the product, he said.
The regulator has scheduled a plenary session for Wednesday in which a vote on the television license. The IFT declined to comment on the session’s agenda and América Móvil said it had not been notified if the issue would be voted on.