Mexican regulators approve page services by cellular operators

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MEXICO CITY -- In a blow to paging companies, Mexican telecommunications regulators authorized the two leading cellular phone operators to offer paging services.

Market leader Telcel was told May 12 it would be fined for unauthorized activities--just one week after launching a paging service--and was ordered to pull its ad campaign off the air, which it did May 17.

But now, the Federal Telecommunications Commission (Cofetel) gave Telcel and its smaller rival Iuscaell the green light on paging. Telcel will still be fined $90,000, but it can resume its advertising and marketing efforts for its ``written message'' service.

Iusacell, which previously had only been warned, could not be reached for comment but is running ads touting its digital services.

Telcel will revive its campaign immediately, a spokeswoman said. Arredondo, De Haro y Asociados handles.

For an extra monthly fee of $8.25, Telcel subscribers can receive text messages on the cell phone display screen. Regular beeper-service companies charge, on average, about $17 per month.

The service requires a digital telephone, so Telcel is readying plans to offer subscriber plans that include digital equipment at a more accessible price. The subsidiary of Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) is the leading cell operator in the country, with 1.28 million subscribers as of the end of March. Telmex is also aggressively marketing its own digital services, including caller ID and call waiting, the two which are being actively promoted on TV and on the radio.

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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