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Mexico opens antitrust probe into mobile phone market

MEXICO CITY, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Mexico's main competition watchdog said on Thursday it had started an investigation into possible monopolistic practices in the country's mobile phone market, which is dominated by tycoon Carlos Slim.

The Federal Competition Commission (Cofeco) did not identify the parties involved but said the information submitted in the complaint was sufficient to warrant beginning a probe into ``absolute monopolistic practices''.

The investigation, one of several launched into the industry in the last few years, centered on arrangements between operators seeking to fix or manipulate prices and divide up parts of a current or potential market, Cofeco said.

Slim's mobile phone company America Movil has about 70 percent of Mexico's market.

Television magnates Emilio Azcarraga and Ricardo Salinas Pliego, who control Grupo Televisa and Grupo Salinas respectively, are seeking to challenge Slim's dominance with a tie-up over mobile phone company Iusacell.

A spokesman for Televisa said he was unaware of the complaint. Spokespeople for America Movil, Iusacell and other phone companies in Mexico did not immediately reply to requests for comment.