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08 November 2016
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Rivada Networks says it will appeal against Mexico’s decision to exclude it from bidding for the country’s planned national wholesale mobile network.
Only one bidder, a local consortium, is now in contention
for the project, called Red Compartida – or shared
network. That group, Altan, is expected to be awarded the
contract next week.
Red Compartida has been set up to build a shared-access mobile network that will
provide coverage across rural Mexico. It is seen as an attempt
to reduce the power of dominant operator América
Móvil, which is owned by Mexican businessman Carlos
A part-owned subsidiary of Rivada is also bidding for the US emergency services wholesale network,
FirstNet, against one known competitor, AT&T. A decision is
expected within weeks.
In a fiery outburst on Twitter, Irish businessman Declan
Ganley, who heads Rivada, said: "Unexpected disqualification of
Rivada … raises questions around integrity of process
clouding future investments", and added, "but we trust
Mexico’s judicial system". He said Rivada would
appeal against the disqualification.
He told the Irish Independent that Rivada had letters of credit
for the security required by Mexico, even though the Ministry
for Communications and Transportation (SCT) said there was no
such financial guarantee.
But in a late-breaking development, Ganley told
Capacity that Mexico has now admitted receiving the
funds from Rivada. "They have now acknowledged that they got
the billion peso letter of credit on Oct 31st," he
Altan, Rivada’s competitor in Mexico, is backed by
Axtel, Megacable and the International Finance
Ganley said via Twitter that the project is "is one of [the]
Mexican government’s most ambitious projects
benefiting millions of Mexicans, if done right."
It "would give high-speed mobile internet to millions of
Mexicans, especially those in rural and poorly connected
areas", adding: "We want to be a partner in
Mexico’s economic development and we have the
technology and expertise to make Red Compartida a
He said: "It would be a shame if an initiative as visionary as
Red Compartida wasn’t enabled with the technology
and team that such vision merits."