Mexican Telecom Reform: The Rise of the STEM Lawyers
The Reform started effects on June 12, 2013. As from this moment, several deadlines were triggered that will define the new telecom and antitrust landscapes:
- Since June 12, 2013, foreign companies and individuals can invest in telecom companies up to 100%, and 49% in TV/Radio companies (the latter subject to country reciprocity to Mexicans in those sectors).
- Since June 12, 2013, the only recourse against acts of New Telecom Regulator (IFETEL) and the New Antitrust Regulator (CFCE) will be Indirect “Amparo” (constitutional writ), repealing administrative recourses. This “Amparo” does not grant injunctions against regulators anymore.
- By August 10, 2013, the Federal Judicial Council (administrative officers of Judicial Branch) will set the telecom and the antitrust courts with exclusive jurisdiction on those matters.
- By September 1, 2013, the process for selecting IFETEL and CFCE Commissioners will be finished.
- By December 31, 2015, migration to digital TV will be completed. Before that date, IFETEL would start a tender process for 1 or 2 national Digital TV networks.
Last Tuesday, the Calling for Aspirants to Commissioners of IFETEL and CFCE was issued with requirements for being eligible. If you read between the lines of the Reform and Calling, you may conclude that:
- Regulators will be autonomous from Government and their decisions will have real impact on telecom and other markets, including power for functional and technical separation, ability to declare essential facilities and dominant players, and grant telecom licenses (IFETEL), among others.
- Mexico is leaving administrative review tradition set by Telecom Law (1995) and Antitrust Law (1992) for the newly reformed “Amparo” proceeding.
- The profile and eligibility requirements for Commissioners favors telecom and antitrust lawyers, but are inclusive with economists and engineers.
- Secondary regulation will create a legal turmoil of interpretation and integration. Expect landmark cases and battles.
- Legal analysis and litigation will be on the rise. This represents a great opportunity for the global legal market that has suffered from liberalization of the profession and the world crisis.
Now, the real question is: Would courts and lawyers be able to argument with STEM knowledge (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and apply it to law? That is quite a challenge and yes, some will succeed.