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Mexico hits Carlos Slim's phone firm with lawsuit

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Mexico's consumer protection agency has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Telmex phone company of billionaire tycoon Carlos Slim for charging its customers for services that should be free.

The Federal Prosecutor's Office for the Consumer (Profeco) said in a statement that Telmex, which dominates the country's fixed-line market, was unduly charging people for a privacy service, a phone directory and information on incoming and outgoing calls.

Profeco said the services must remain free as a constitutional right. The legal action allows any Telmex user to join the lawsuit against the phone giant, which controls 80 percent of the market.

A Telmex spokesman said the company had no immediate comment on the case.

In February, the Federal Competition Commission slapped a $52 million fine on Telmex for refusing to give a rival firm access to landlines for local and long-distance calls.

President Enrique Pena Nieto has proposed a telecommunications reform bill aimed at encouraging competition and preventing monopolistic practices in the phone and television markets. The Senate is debating the legislation, which passed the lower house of Congress.

Slim dominates the fixed-line and mobile phone businesses while two TV channels, Televisa and Azteca, control almost the entire television market.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130401/mexico-hits-carlos-slims-phone-firm-lawsuit