Bloomberg News

Mexico Completing Rules for Wireless Airwaves Auction

October 20, 2009

The Mexican government’s rules for a wireless auction are nearly complete, paving the way for potential new competitors such as Grupo Televisa SA (TLEVICPO) to snatch space to start offering mobile-phone service.

The Federal Telecommunications Commission plans to vote on the rules in a session today, Rafael del Villar, one of the five members of the agency’s board, told reporters in Mexico City. The auction process would begin later this year and probably would conclude in 2010, he said.

Mexico City-based Grupo Televisa, the biggest Spanish- language broadcaster, and Axtel (AXTELCPO) SAB, Mexico’s second-largest land-line phone carrier, have said they’re interested in the airwaves, which can support third-generation networks. The telecommunications agency is designing the rules to encourage new competitors to enter the industry.

Televisa Chief Executive Officer Emilio Azcarraga told reporters this month that while the company is interested in bidding for the airwaves, it hasn’t decided on its plans. When asked for comment, a Televisa representative referred to Azcarraga’s comments and said no other information is immediately available.

Mexican regulators plan to license a total of 120 megahertz of wireless spectrum in the 1.9 gigahertz and 1.7 gigahertz bands, spaces suitable for voice calls and high-speed Internet. Wireless carriers America Movil (AMXL) SAB, Telefonica SA (TEF) and NII Holdings Inc. (NIHD:US) have also said they may participate in the auction to expand the capacity of their networks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Julie Alnwick at jalnwick@bloomberg.net


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