Tag Archives: Ricardo Salinas

Televisa-Nextel dissolve consortium

In a major setback to the Government’s tortured attempt to create a new strong player in the telecommunications sector, Televisa and Nextel announced that Televisa was backing out of the agreement to invest US$ 1.44 billion in Nextel in order to fund the buildout of a nationwide 3G mobile network. Their consortium was the winner of the controversial wireless spectrum auction 21,  which was specifically structured by the Government to make it practically impossible for the existing holders of large nationwide blocs of spectrum (Carlos Slim’s Telcel, Telefonica, and and Ricardo Salinas’ Iusacell-Unefon) to enter bids. The spectrum was awarded with the affirmative vote of only two of the five Cofetel commissioners, and the entire process has been challenged in the courts  by Grupo Salinas, which has filed more than 70 lawsuits seeking to block the award. On his Twitter account, Emilio Azcárraga Jean, the CEO of Televisa, said simply, “We have to take decisions every day, and I believe that we are taking the best decision for us.” Nextel, which was actually awarded the spectrum, has said it intends to go forward. (Reforma 10/18, Universal 10/18)

SCT delivers wireless concessions to Televisa-Nextel consortium, but controversy continues

The Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) sought to end the seemingly endless controversy surrounding the award of 30MHz of nationwide wireless spectrum to a Televisa-Nextel consortium by delivering the concession deeds immediately after a federal judge overturned an injunction blocking the move. Iusacell, controlled by TV magnate Ricardo Salinas, had filed some 69 suits trying to block the delivery of the concessions. SCT Secretary Juan Molinar denied that the concessions were being delivered “furtively,” but the SCT clearly decided to act before any more injunctions could be issued. President Calderón spoke directly on the subject, saying, “I know that this is a controversial solution, but it is giving us a much clearer framework for the [telecommunications] sector and much greater competition.” The conclusion by many commentators that the issue is not yet resolved was strengthened by the cautious statement issued by Televisa, saying that “discussions are ongoing … as to whether certain closing conditions have been or can be satisfied.” (Universal 10/3, 10/8, Televisa 10/4)

SCT fires 15 lawyers for acting to benefit Grupo Salinas

Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) general counsel Gerardo Sánchez Henkel fired 15 staff lawyers for failing to protect the SCT’s interests in auctions of radio frequencies. Iusacell, a cell phone company owned by Ricardo Salinas (TV Azteca), was in the process of getting a permanent injunction to block the auctions.  (Iusacell owns unused bandwidth which it could resell for more than US$400 million if the new frequencies are not made available, according to specialists.)  Those fired allegedly failed to defend the case aggressively. “There was an inconsistency in their actions, and this led to a loss of confidence in the attorneys,” said Sánchez Henkel. (Reforma 6/4, 6/5)