America Movil may not be the only player in Mexico’s mobile communications market, but it is by far the biggest. With the announcement from Mexican broadcaster Televisa that it is planning an MVNO offering, however, more competition is on the way.
America Movil, owned by Carlos Slim, reputedly the richest person in Latin America, has long dominated telecommunications in Mexico. America Movil’s mobile arm, Telcel, is the largest mobile operator in that country, with about two thirds of the market.
According to a recent report from Reuters, Televisa does not plan to roll out its own infrastructure but, as an MVNO, to offer services to existing customers of its cable and home internet packages. These will be sold under its Izzi brand. The broadcaster will rent space on Mexico’s wholesale telecommunications network, operated by Altan Redes. Altan’s Red Compartida network is developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) contract with the Mexican government.
The rollout had originally been planned for later this year but has been accelerated, Televisa claims, as a side effect of the coronavirus, which has increased demand for low-price phone packages. The service is now launching this week.
And low-priced it certainly is. Reuters reports that the company’s cellular service will be priced at 250 pesos (about $11.36) a month per line with unlimited data. Televisa claims that this is about 80 percent cheaper than comparable packages from America Movil. The company will offer the phone plans to roughly three million households in 17 Mexican cities.
Will the entry of a new player do more to encourage real competition in the mobile telecommunications market, something the Mexican government has been keen to promote in recent years, but that other names such as AT&T and Telefonica have failed to do?
In local terms Televisa certainly has clout, as a leader in the Mexican broadcasting market. Of course, broadcasters are having to deal with falling viewer numbers and Televisa is no exception. However, according to Reuters, the company’s telecommunications units have become its biggest earner, driving close to 70 percent of net sales in the first quarter of this year, so diversification may be a useful strategy.