U.S. Markets closed

Mexico watchdog tells America Movil to sell "unlocked" phones

MEXICO CITY, April 8 (Reuters) - Latin America's largest phone company, America Movil, will have to sell its mobile phones "unlocked" in Mexico so that they can be used with other operators' networks, Mexico's telecom watchdog said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mexico's Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) last month said America Movil, controlled by billionaire businessman Carlos Slim, is a dominant phone company and so subject to tougher rules designed to level the playing field for smaller competitors.

America Movil customers who pay in full for their phones either as part of a contract or for pre-paid services will now receive unlocked phones, according to the regulator's statement.

The IFT has also lowered tariffs America Movil may charge rivals to connect to its mobile network in Mexico - which has about 70 percent of market share - and said the company can no longer charge so-called roaming fees when a user makes a call outside of their local area.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Christopher Cushing)