Mexican communications company MVS Comunicaciones fired a broadside Wednesday in the battle over the country's airwaves, blaming leading television broadcaster Grupo Televisa SAB (TV, TLEVISA.MX) for the shelving of its plans to use high-frequency spectrum for a nationwide mobile broadband platform that wireless and other service providers could tap into.

In full-page advertisements published in local newspapers, MVS said Televisa was "obstructing competition" by requesting in 2008 that authorities reassign the spectrum that MVS holds in the 2.5 gigahertz to 2.69 gigahertz range.

The 190 megahertz of bandwidth, more than double what any of the country's mobile phone companies has, is at the center of the controversy. Critics argue that MVS has for years underused and underpaid for the spectrum, which it initially acquired for television service.

MVS said Televisa's call for the spectrum to be reassigned came as MVS launched satellite TV service Dish Mexico, in partnership with Echostar Corp. (SATS) to compete directly with Televisa's Sky Mexico satellite service. The switch to satellite TV freed up MVS's spectrum, which by then could be used for mobile service thanks to technological advances.

Televisa said in a statement Wednesday that MVS was using "supposed conflicts with Televisa as an excuse to cover up its legal and business deficiencies," and that the 2.5 Ghz bandwidth is being reordered everywhere in the world "precisely so that there should be more competition and not monopolies like the one MVS wants to set up."

Last year, MVS unveiled the "Mobile Broadband For Everyone" plan, in which--along with partners Clearwire Corp. (CLWR), Intel Corp. (INTC) and Mexican fixed-line company Alestra--it intended to invest $400 million in a network to provide a "last mile" connection with high-speed access for wireless providers and others.

The project aimed to address Mexico's deficient wireless broadband penetration, which is by far the lowest among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Communications and Transport Ministry said last week said it had decided not to renew MVS's frequency concessions following many discussions with the company, although MVS is contesting the decisions and court rulings are still pending.

MVS Corporate Vice President Jose Antonio Abad said in a phone interview that the legal uncertainty led MVS and its partners last year to stop pouring money into the wireless broadband venture after investing an initial $80 million. They shut down services which were operating in a limited way, and laid off 450 workers.

Abad also said the fees proposed by the Finance Ministry for use of the spectrum were so high that they made the project unviable. He said MVS has always paid for its spectrum, and has made various proposals to the government, including a participation in the broadband venture.

"The problem is that there isn't the political will," Abad said. "Our hope is that the government realizes this is a viable project, and the best way to solve the problem of mobile broadband."

-By Anthony Harrup, Dow Jones Newswires; (5255) 5980-5176,

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