MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that Telmex, a fixed-line unit of Carlos Slim-controlled telecommunications giant America Movil, can charge its competitors for the use of its network starting in 2019, judicial officials said on Thursday.
The high court found that the 2014 telecommunications law’s Article 131 – which stated that dominant operators like Telmex and other Slim companies could not charge rivals for completing calls on their networks – was unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court said it was up to the regulator, the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), and not lawmakers to establish interconnection fees and that therefore Congress had exceeded its authority.
A Supreme Court spokesperson told EFE Thursday that the latest ruling was in line with an August 2017 decision that stated that America Movil’s mobile unit, Telcel, could charge rivals for calls placed into its network by customers of other cellular companies.
The 2014 law established a series of restrictions on dominant telecommunications operators (those with a market share of 50 percent or greater), including regulation on the access and use of passive infrastructure such as wireless towers, elimination of mobile roaming charges and regulation on interconnection.
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, Telmex still is expected to be subject to asymmetric regulation, meaning that it will not be able to collect interconnection fees that are as high as those charged by smaller competitors.
The overhaul spearheaded by President Enrique Peña Nieto has led to a drop in the price of telephone services, one of his administration’s objectives.
But the market share of the leading companies has not changed drastically.
For example, America Movil’s fixed-line division had a 69.1 percent share of Mexico’s market in 2012 and a 63.2 percent market share four years later.