Mexico's telecommunications regulatory agency has approved plans for an unprecedented auction of frequencies for two nationwide television channels, part of a bid to expand competition in that sector.

The concession program will be the "first auction of television frequencies in the country's history," the Federal Telecommunications Commission, or Cofetel, said in a statement.

"The awarding of these frequencies is aimed at fostering diversity of content, driving competition in the sector and boosting digital terrestrial television, or DTT, infrastructure," the Cofetel said.

These frequencies will enable "two DTT broadcast channels (to be established) in 153 main population centers, representing the necessary coverage to service 93 percent of the country's population," the regulatory agency said.

The approval of the plan marks the first step in the auction process, which will be formally launched once announced in the Official Gazette, the Cofetel said.

After that time, "any interested party may request ... the auctioning of frequencies and geographical coverage in addition to or distinct from those provided for in this program," the Cofetel said.

It added that it was coordinating efforts to review the mechanisms and rules for the planned auction with the Federal Competition Commission, or CFC.

Mexico's broadcast television is a duopoly market dominated by Televisa, the world's largest Spanish-language media conglomerate, and the smaller TV Azteca.

Separately, the regulatory agency approved a draft Interconnection Framework Agreement, a mechanism designed to ensure market operators' compliance with interconnection requirements, one of the final conditions dominant fixed-line telephone operator Telmex must meet to become eligible for a pay TV license.

This document is to be sent to the Federal Regulatory Improvement Commission, or Cofemer, for consultation prior to its possible publication in the Official Gazette. EFE