• Constitutional Reform in Telecommunications: Update
  • May 17, 2013 | Authors: Octavio Lecona Morales; Luis Rubio Barnetche
  • Law Firm: Greenberg Traurig, S.C. - Mexico, D.F. Office
  • This is an update of the client Alert that we distributed earlier related to the bill introduced by the President of Mexico to the Mexican Congress on March 11, 2013, with the intention to amend several provisions of the Mexican Federal Constitution to provide a constitutional framework for the regulation of broadcasting and telecommunications and enhance fair trade and competition in such markets.

    On March 21, 2013, the bill (as amended) was approved by more than two thirds of the attending members of the Cámara de Diputados (House of Representatives). The bill, as amended (properly called the minute) was sent to the Cámara de Senadores (the Senate) for review.

    The Senate held public hearings before reporting on the minute. The minute was reported by the Senate Comisiones Unidas (Joint Committees) de Puntos Constitucionales (on Constitutional Matters), de Comunicaciones y Transportes (on Communications and Transport), de Radio, Televisión y Cinematografía (on Radio, Television, and Cinematography), and de Estudios Legislativos (on Legislative Studies), with the opinion of the Comisión de Gobernación (Committee on Government) and the Comisión de Justicia (Committee on Justice).

    On April 19, the Senate passed the report on the minute with additional amendments, which was submitted to the House of Representatives for debate and approval, as appropriate. On May 25, the House of Representatives returned the minute to the Senate with additional amendments. On April 30, the Senate approved the minute (as amended) that was received from the House of Representatives.

    Upon approval by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the minute (as amended) was submitted to all state legislatures for debate and approval, as appropriate. As of the date hereof, the required majority has been attained. State legislatures that have approved the bill to amend the federal Constitution are Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Coahuila, Colima, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Estado de México, Jalisco, Morelos, Nuevo León, Puebla, Querétaro, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala and Yucatán.

    Consequently, we anticipate that the Comisión Permanente 1 (Permanent Committee) will issue the Declaratoria de Constitucionalidad (Declaration of Constitutionality) of the bill and submit it to the President of Mexico in their next meeting. Once the President signs the bill into law it will be inserted in the Diario Oficial de la Federación (Official Gazette).

    This constitutional reform will enter into effect on the day following its publication, including specific transitional provisions that mandate the total elimination of limits to direct foreign investment in telecommunications and satellite services.

    The constitutional reform provides that Congress will have 180 days to enact the new broadcasting and telecommunications law. Our best estimate is that the new law may be enacted by mid-November 2013.

    1 The Comisión Permanente (Permanent Committee) is installed when Congress is in recess.