America Movil, the Mexico-based mobile operator controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, is rapidly building up its pay-TV business. Already a giant in terms of its cellular penetration, it has a 70 per cent market share in Mexico (trading as Telcel), for example, and its Claro brand has 47 million subs in Brazil.
America Movil says it is planning to add 3 million new pay-TV subscribers in Latin America during this year. “We are recording about a 250,000 client growth on a monthly basis”, Oscar Von Hauske, a senior executive, pointed out. The Mexican company would close the year with about 13 million subscribers in the region.
According to America Movil’s latest report, as at the end of 2010, the company had 10.1m pay-TV clients. Compared with 2009 this represents a 31.8 per cent increase. Most users are provided by the Brazilian MSO Net, which closed December with 4.2 million subscribers. Von Hauske pointed out that 4.5 million of the total TV clients have triple play packages.
In addition to Brazil, América Móvil has operations in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The company is not authorized to render TV services in Mexico. However, over the next few months that might change. The company has been lobbying hard to see its mandate altered to permit it to sell pay-TV locally.