LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 LATIN AMERICA, MEXICO: The heads of AT&T and Telefonica in Mexico hailed the potential the market offers – while highlighting the importance of regulatory reforms that have made the country more competitive.

Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Mexico (pictured right), wanted to “put it on the table at the very start” that regulatory moves intended to drive competition for the dominant Telcel (America Movil) were “one of the most important reasons” the US company decided to invest south of the border.

The moves, he said, “help level the playing field until such a time that dynamic competition comes in”.

Both Arroyo and Carlos Morales Paulin, CEO of Telefonica Mexico, were keen to point out that Mexico has a lot to offer.

The Telefonica executive noted that on a macroeconomic level, the country is relatively stable, and with its population of 120 million, it also offers a scale that is appealing to telecoms operators.

But it was the young age of the population that makes Mexico especially appealing, he continued.

“Millions of people are going to be incorporated into the work market, millions of people are going to be part of the middle class. And it is not just looking at them as consumers: these people are going to be entrepreneurs,” he said.

Arroyo concurred. “What’s important here is we are looking at an economy here with tremendous potential. We have an economy here with a young population, growing incomes and social mobility, and that’s only going to increase with digital advances,” he said.

But the Telefonica chief was also quick to point out some challenges. While falling prices have benefitted consumers, this has impacted the profitability of operators. And Telcel is still a dominant force.

“The main objective is to have three-multinational players that are very powerful,” he said.