News Column

Mexico's Telcel Let Off Nearly Billion-dollar Fine

May 3, 2012

Mexico's anti-trust authorities revoked a fine of $960 million that had been imposed last year on the mobile phone company Telcel, owned by telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim.

The fine, which penalized Telcel in April 2011 for monopolistic practices in inter-connection rates for other networks, was the highest ever imposed by the commission.

Mexico's Federal Commission on Competition said Thursday it accepted five commitments Telcel made in its appeal to solve anti-trust issues that were raised by the original ruling. If it fails to deliver, Telcel, a subsidiary of Slim's firm America Movil, will have to pay up to 8 per cent of its annual revenue.

America Movil, the sector's leader across Latin America, told the Mexican Stock Exchange that the resolution "revokes and leaves without effect" the fine, with no further details.

Telcel committed to reducing inter-connection rates from the current 95 cents a minute to 36.18 cents per minute this year, and to 30.94 cents per minute in 2014.

If this is implemented, Mexico will go from being the fifth most expensive country for inter-connection among the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to being the fourth cheapest.

"The commitments that were made can generate a gain of more than $6 billion per year for consumers," the commission said.

Slim is the world's richest man according to Forbes magazine, worth an estimated $69 billion.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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