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Shakeup proposed for Mexican TV, phone markets

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Shakeup proposed for Mexican TV, phone markets

  • Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim, right, is the world's richest man.
    Malova Gobernador/FlickrMexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim, right, is the world's richest man.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has sent a bill to Congress proposing sweeping reforms of the countries telecommunications industry that would give regulators power to crack down on monopolies and allow more foreign investment, the Associated Press reported.

The long-awaited proposal to shake up the telephone and television industries, currently dominated by a handful of the country’s richest people, was drafted by the country’s three major parties after they formed an accord in December called the Pact for Mexico.

Reuters reported the bill would allow “increased foreign ownership” of telecommunications companies and give regulators “the power to make players controlling more than 50 percent of the market sell assets.”

"The purpose of these measures is to free up the sector's potential, and do it as quickly as possible," Pena Nieto was quoted as saying Monday.

The proposed legislation could threaten Carlos Slim’s status as the world’s richest man, according to Forbes.

Slim, whose company America Movil controls 70 percent of Mexico’s wireless market and about 80 percent of landlines, topped the most recent Forbes Billionaires List with a net worth of $73 billion. 

Televisa, which is controlled by tycoon Emilio Azcarraga, holds about 60 percent of the broadcast market and also has much to lose from the proposed bill.

The bill also plans to auction the rights to run two new television channels, but Mexico’s two most powerful broadcasters, Televisa and TV Azteca, which together hold about 95 percent of the market, would not be allowed to take part, Variety reported.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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