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Mexican president favors renewing key Slim concession, eyes prices

·1-min read

MEXICO CITY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he favors renewing a telecom concession that helped make Carlos Slim the richest man in Latin America, but added the businessman should keep prices low and connect rural areas to the internet.

Mexico's regulator, the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), is due to rule in 2023 on the future of the concession.

Lopez Obrador said he did not support re-nationalizing Telmex, the former state-run fixed-line telephone company that Slim won in a round of privatization in the 1990s.

"This is what I think, the concession remains, with the goal that there is a commitment to benefit the population, either via tariffs or by extending the network so that we all have internet, and we reach an agreement," Lopez Obrador said in a regular news conference.

Lopez Obrador has sought to increase state control in strategic industries including energy and mining.

The regulator has previously granted a resolution favorable to extending the concession for another 30 years through 2056 but it has until March 2023 to make a final ruling and define terms and conditions. (Reporting by Raul Cortes and Ana Isabel Martinez in Mexico City Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Matthew Lewis)

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