Rivals of Carlos Slim are protesting to government regulators his delivery of TV programming over the Web in Mexico, Bloomberg reports. Grupo Televisa CEO Emilio Azcarraga complained last month and TV Azteca has filed suit against Slim’s companies as well as complained to the nation’s phone regulator over Web broadcasts such as last month’s Pan American Games. Slim’s America Movil and Telefonos de Mexico are forbidden from using their networks to offer TV service under the terms of their telecommunications license that was acquired in a 1990 privatization sale. Slim has tried unsuccessfully to reverse the ban, especially as Televisa has begun offering phone and Internet service to lure away his customers.
Banning web videos without a broadcast license would also affect companies such as Netflix, which has begun streaming services in Latin America, and Mexican phone company Maxcom, which started an online TV plan in September. Jose Otero, an analyst at Signals Telecom Consulting based in Uruguay, said that “if you’re going to need a broadcasting license to offer video streaming, you’re going to need to block a lot of companies.” America Movil is already the biggest pay-TV provider across all of Latin America, with 12.5 million subscribers, mostly in Brazil, compared with DirecTV’s 10.3 million. And America Movil is moving aggressively toward delivery of pay-per-view and streaming of Hollywood movies. (more…)