President Felipe Calderón and former Communications Secretary Luis Téllez, in discussions with Carlos Slim, offered to eliminate the legal restrictions under which Telefonos de Mexico (TelMex) is frozen out of the television market in exchange for allowing Slim’s competitors low-cost access to the telephone company’s infrastructure in the most profitable zones within Mexico. After a tense two-hour meeting at Los Pinos, Slim rejected the proposal, arguing that to accept it would destroy Telmex.
[As Lawrence Wright reports in The New Yorker (registration required) this week] last March Communications Secretary Téllez arranged a secret meeting between Slim and president Calderón. The now former Secretary confirmed the facts with Wright, saying that he had hoped the meeting could pave the way for an ambitious plan to open the telecommunications sector to competition. In return, Téllez told The New Yorker, the government was prepared to offer the industralist the one thing he hopelessly desires: television.