20 June 2018
| James Pearce
Mexico’s telecoms market is open for outside investment. That was the key message delivered by the Mexican Undersecretary of Communications Edgar Olivera Jiménez during his keynote at this year’s Mexico Connect conference.
Olivera, who has overseen a major
overhaul of Mexico’s telecoms sector as part of a
bid to create more competitiveness, told a packed conference
room that telecoms was "on the fast track" for
"In telecoms," he said at the event, held in Mexico City,
"there has been certain obstacles – resistance,
institutional resistance, with regulations being debated. This
is a reason why telecoms reform is moving more
"Another reason is because operators are experts. They are
investors competing with one another, but they need clear laws
that allow them to compete. But telecoms reform is based on
technology. Some are dedicated towards robotics, AI, data
management. All these applications have to be supported by
telecoms – we can’t have applications
that manage data if they are not supported by a robust telecoms
network which manages data at high speeds."
On 10 June 2013, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto
signed a constitutional amendment that transformed the
government’s role in telecommunications and
expanded its power to curtail media monopolies.
According to figures shared by Olivera, the Mexican market
has seen a significant shift since then. The organisation in
charge of statistics surveyed Mexican citizens based on their
use of technology in 2016/17 – the results showed in
homes that have internet there were 7.9m homes prior to the
reforms but this has grown by 10m more in a five year
"17m is around 33% and that is a significant growth," he
added. The growth Mexico has seen in internet speed showed 80%
of homes had less than 10mbps. Nowadays these numbers are the
other way – 80% have over 10mbps.
"Not only did we grow quantity, we also grew the quality
because the service users receive at home is much better. Some
companies now offer 100mbps and it is exponential growth as
different people offer different and better services," Olivera
However, Mexico is still facing challenges, with a
Competitive Intelligence Unit report in 2017 finding that
America Movil – through subsidiaries Telcel and Telmex
– continues to dominate the Mexican market.
This is despite government-supported projects such as Altan
Redes’ 4G wholesale network, Red Compartida, and
the Red Troncal fibre project.
He added: "We are seeing greater competition that we never
thought we’d see. We saw an increase of 20m users
in 5 years of internet connectivity. In mobile, we saw an
increase of almost 20m users. 116m subscribers. To surpass the
100% mark is very challenging."
Mexico’s competitiveness "goes hand in hand
with these reforms" he told the crowd. But "now the
responsibility for keeping the reform on track is in the hands
of the investors".
He said there has been great strides but Mexico needs to go
further, with 50m users who are not connected. "It was 50m,
then it is 25m and the question is how to connect them. We do
that by following through on products with your critical eye
and experience to improve our country."
Olivera concluded with a plea: "I hope Mexico Connect is a
great event for you – please continue investing in our
Edgar Olivera Jiménez,