América Móvil plans OTT service

Latin American telco América Móvil – owned by billionaire Carlos Slim – is considering starting an online service for movies and television shows in Mexico, where the company is currently banned from using its network to offer TV programming, reports Bloomberg.

The company is holding off from starting and over-the-top, Internet-delivered service as it awaits a regulatory ruling on whether showing video over the Internet would violate the TV ban. The company would use distribution unit DLA to offer movies and shows as it already does in Argentina and Uruguay.

Launching a video service would put the telco in competition with Grupo Televisa and TV Azteca. Televisa, the nation’s biggest broadcaster, has eaten into América Móvil’s subscriber base by offering its own voice, Internet and TV triple play service bundles.

Slim has tried unsuccessfully to obtain a TV licence since acquiring Teléfonos de México (Telmex) in a government privatisation sale. The government maintains that the company hasn’t met requirements in its network connections with rivals.

If Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Federal Telecommunications Commission) rules that Telmex is allowed to stream video online, the company can proceed with its OTT service plan

América Móvil agreed to buy DLA in October 2011 for an undisclosed price. In addition to providing video content for Internet and mobile devices, DLA provides TV channels and pay-per-view programming to cable carriers in Latin America.

América Móvil’s online video services complement the cable and satellite packages it offers across Latin America, including Brazil and Colombia. The company had 13.4 million pay-TV subscribers at the end of 2011, the most in the region.

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