Mexico’s transport and communications ministry (SCT) plans to launch a tender for a $10 billion national mobile broadband network by October, with initial project terms being released in June.
According to Reuters, the ministry has published a request for expressions of interest and the winner will create a company to build and run the network with a licence to use 90MHz of the 700MHz spectrum band.
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.
The creation of the mobile broadband network was written into the country’s constitution as it seeks to increase competition and investment in a market that is currently dominated by America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim.
Last year, under regulatory pressure to loosen America Movil’s grip on Mexico’s mobile and fixed-line markets, the operator put up network assets on the west coast and near the US border for sale.
In October last year it was reported that SCT and IFT, the country’s telecoms regulator, agreed steps to have a mobile network up and running through a mixture of public and private investment by 2018, although details of the ‘shared network’ – it offers the prospect of Mexico’s existing operators and MVNOs sharing it to extend their network reach – were said to be sketchy.
SCT said “six major telecoms suppliers” were carrying out field tests in the 700MHz frequency band, but did not reveal their names.
The ministry also said the aim is to upgrade and extend the fibreoptic network of CFE, the stated-owned electricity company, to support rollout of the shared mobile network, which would improve the shared network’s performance.