Mexico reportedly cut the cost of a proposed tender for a wholesale national mobile broadband network by around a third, from $10 billion to $7 billion, in recognition that competition has improved under reforms led by President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Mexico’s transport and communications ministry (SCT) still wants the the winner, however, to build and operate a wholesale network using 90MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz frequency band.
When the wholesale plan was written into the constitution in 2013, the thinking was that the new network might help stimulate retail competition in the mobile market, which America Movil dominated at that time.
The demand for alternative wholesale access might not be as high as originally thought.
“Mexico’s telecommunications sector is different today to two years ago,” said Monica Aspe, SCT’s deputy minister, quoted by Reuters. “The tender for the shared network has to recognise that.”
The government, reportedly, is also considering changes that will make mobile operators more likely to use the wholesale network, although what these changes might be are not yet clear.
Terms of the wholesale project were originally expected to be released next month, and the tender launched in October.
Mexico’s wholesale network plan has sparked some interest from big-name industry players. A spokesman at China Telecommunications Corporation, the parent of China’s third largest operator, said in January that the company may be interested in investing in Mexico.
Last year it was reported that Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson helped a consortium – the members of which were not disclosed – to place a bid to build the network. But the bid was apparently unsolicited and not accepted by the SCT.