Mexicans overcharged billions for phone use: study

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 30, 2012 9:09 PM

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexicans were overcharged billions of dollars for phone service in recent years as the industry dominated by billionaire Carlos Slim gouges customers and keeps the economy from growing, a study released on Monday said.

Mexico, the second-largest economy in Latin America, cannot reach its growth potential until the costs of phone service come down and more people have easy access to telecom services, the report from the Organization for Co-operation and Development said.

From 2005 to 2009, Mexican consumers overpaid for phone services by $13.4 billion a year and that disproportionately hit the poor, according to the report.

"Inefficient telecommunication markets impose a significant cost on the Mexican economy and the welfare of its population," according to the report that reviewed the country's telecom sector.

The home telephone market is dominated by Carlos Slim's Telefonos de Mexico, or Telmex, which provides about 80 percent of services.

(Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Gary Hill)