Mexican TV to go fully digital by end of 2015

Transition will open airwaves to greater competition

MEXICO CITY -- President Felipe Calderon on Thursday said Mexican television will go fully digital by the end of 2015, claiming the transition will open the airwaves to greater competition.

In the president's state of the nation report, he said the migration from analog to digital will allow a greater number of participants in television and telecommunications to provide TV signals.

"Mexicans...will have more channels with more options for cultural, news and entertainment content," Calderon said.

Two networks dominate Mexico's airwaves. With media giant Televisa and rival TV Azteca controlling an estimated 95% of the nation's TV stations, new players have found it all but impossible to crack the concentrated market. NBC Universal's Telemundo had been seeking a broadcast license in Mexico for several years, but to no avail.

Opposition party lawmaker Carlos Sotelo, president of the Senate's Radio, Television and Film Committee, was quoted in the Mexican daily El Universal on Thursday as saying he's doubtful that the president's digital transition initiative will have a significant impact on fomenting competition.

Additionally, Calderon announced that Mexico will open an auction on a 700MHz band, allowing telecommunications service providers to offer 4G wireless technology.

"With this (we can) offer more and better services, precisely because it's a band apt for mobile telephone services and 4G Internet," he said.