World's Richest Man Denied Mexico TV Entry

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Carlos Slim

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim, the planet's wealthiest man, was dealt yet another blow this week in his long-running battle to crack the pay TV market.

Slim's phone and internet company Telmex has long been seeking government approval to change the status of its operating license (which currently allows strictly for telecom) so that it can offer television service.

But a court ruling this week said instead that the company must reapply for the TV license, meaning it's back to square one for Slim and company. Regulators have banned Slim from entering the TV market for several years now because of competition concerns; his fixed line and mobile phone outfits control more than 70 percent of their respective markets. 

Government officials have said they will consider allowing Slim to enter the TV market if his company complies with certain obligations aimed at improving competition in the telecom sector.

Telmex claims it has met the obligations specified under a 2006 convergence agreement, but there are lingering concerns about whether Telmex is providing fair interconnection service to its rivals. 

Among Telmex's would-be pay TV competitors are sister companies of Mexican broadcasters Televisa and TV Azteca, both of which offer bundled pay TV, phone and internet services.

Slim has been feuding with Mexico's two networks in recent years as they encroach on one another's markets. He has accused the broadcasters, among other things, of colluding to control advertising rates.