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Aristegui | MVS Loses Frequency

Proceso magazine reports:

In a classic end-of-mandate move, Mexican president Felipe Calderón, acting through his communications and transportation minister, Dionisio Pérez Jácome, has decided to benefit the Televisa media group by refusing to renew the 2.5 GHz bandwidth concessions  previously awarded to MVS Comunicaciones.

MVS broadcasts the daily radio program of CNN Español anchor Carmen Aristegui, author of remarkable investigative reporting on election fraud in 2006, among other notable work — the Hildebrando and ChoicePoint scandals, for example. She worked at W Radio until 2003, when her contract was not renewed.

She was fired  for alleged ethical lapses by MVS in 2011 — she had asked questions about the alleged alcoholism of Mexico’s president. She returned to MVS with her own branded channel earlier this year, and was named a knight commander by the French just this summer.

Experts contacted by Proceso say that MVS, owned by the Vargas family, lost the spectrum after having failed to prove its economic viability and its capacity to bring broadband Internet access to a large portion of the population. With the restructuring of the concession, it is quite clear that the only party to benefit will be the monopolistic consortium controlled by Emilio Azcárraga Jean.

The company has operated at 2.5 GHz since 2002, one reads. The concession is valued at some US$ 58 billion over the next 20 years.

One day after the unexpected announcement by the communications and transportation secretary, Dionisio Pérez Jácome, that talks concerning the renewal of the concession to MVS of the 2.5 GHz spectrum, Grupo Televisa spokesman Javier Tejado Dondé, was quoted by a Reforma reporter as saying:

“Elsewhere in the world, this bandwidth is assigned through concessions in order to attract competent and adequately financed managers of what is the property of the state. Denying renewal to MVS is to reassert state control over enough bandwidth to support four new cell phone and mobile services companies. [MVS] represents an inefficient and abusive use of this spectrum.»

In an article in Reforma titled “MVS, Aristegui and 2.5 GHz”, the author of the  Televisa Law and Televisa’s go-between in dealing with legislators and the courts very clearly expressed Televisa’s unhappiness with the prospect of facing competition in the market for «quadruple play» services.

The Televisa Law — the first piece of legislation approved after Calderón’s victory in 2006 — was rescinded in 2007.

He also speculated about close ties between MVS and the campaign of Enrique Peña Nieto, as though Grupo Televisa itself had not aligned itself explicitly with the ex-governor starting in 2006.

«What is at stake for MVS?” he asked. “First of all, no other operator uses as much bandwidth as MVS, which controls 190 MHz. As a point of comparison, consider Telcel, with 80 MHz. And yet Telcel serves 68 million users, compared with zero served by MVS. All of its users were transferred two years ago to the mobile provider Dish».

Just recently, noted Tex-Mex commentator John Ackerman resigned from MVS, condemning undue influence over his reporting on the PRI presidential candidate.

El analista político John M. Ackerman envió una carta al presidente de MVS Comunicaciones en la que presenta su renuncia como colaborador de Noticias MVS segunda emisión, al ser víctima de presuntas censuras en respuesta a supuestas sugerencias realizadas por el equipo del virtual ganador presidencial, Enrique Peña Nieto.

En la carta enviada a Joaquín Vargas publicada en el blog oficial del politólogo, Ackerman lamenta que la suspensión de sus colaboraciones no se debieran a una falta de tiempo en la emisión del noticiero a cargo de Luis Cárdenas, sino a un reacomodo de prioridades que desde el pasado 2 de julio marcó la diferencia y censurara de esa manera los comentarios plurales de su autoría que en algunos casos aludían a las causas de irregularidades en los comicios presidenciales y daban opción a la invalidación de las elecciones.