Mexico’s telecoms and transport ministry (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.
Details of the ‘shared network’ – it offers the prospect of Mexico’s existing operators and MVNOs sharing it to extend their network reach – are nonetheless sketchy.
SCT said in a statement that the timetable for the project has been approved with the government but no dates are disclosed. The cost of setting up the network is estimated at around $10 million over the next ten years, but there’s no mention how much will come from government coffers or who the private investors might be (although bidding to be involved has apparently begun).
SCT does say “six major telecoms suppliers” are carrying out field tests in the 700MHz frequency band, but does not reveal their names. Reuters reported last month that Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson helped a consortium – the names of which are not disclosed – to place a bid to build the network. The news agency added that the government wants to pick a winner by mid-2015.
According to SCT, however, the public-private partnership will not only be responsible for rolling out the network but operating it and offering services too.
Related to the shared network plan is another project, the ‘core network’. SCT said the aim is to upgrade and extend the fibre-optic network of CFE, the stated-owned electricity company, to support rollout of the shared mobile network (which will improve the shared network’s performance).
The shared network plan is part of the Mexican government’s attempt to stimulate competition in a mobile market that has so far been dominated by America Movil.
Bowing to regulatory pressure, America Movil is in the process of selling network assets to take its market share below 50 per cent.