The Mexican regulator IFT has agreed with the country’s ministry of telecoms and transport (SCT) that the state network should be up and running by 2018.
Supported by both public and private investment, the state-backed network is intended to provide means for existing operators to extend coverage without having the build out infrastructure. It also offers a route for MVNOs to begin providing services in order to boost competition in the market.
The ministry confirmed that the government has approved the rough timeframe, but declined to mention a specific deadline. The network will cost an estimated $10 million across the next 10 years; neither the percentage of this sum that will be state-funded nor the identity of private investors has been disclosed.
STC has confirmed that field tests in the 700MHz band are under way, with “six major telecoms suppliers” participating. An unnamed consortium last month opened the bidding with an unsolicited bid. The group is believed to have received unspecified help from both Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson. To keep to its timeframe, the government aims to have selected a winner by mid-2015.
However the public-private partnership pans out, it will be required not only build out the network, but operate it and provide services too, according to SCT.
The state-backed shared network is an element of the anti-monopoly regulation introduced by the Mexican regulator IFT and largely aimed at reducing the dominance of Carlos Slim’s America Movil. The group is selling off assets in a bid to bring its market share down from around 70% to below 50%.
The shared mobile network is connected to another initiative dubbed the ‘core network’. This plan will expand and renovate the fibre-optic network of state electricity provider CFE as a means of supporting the shared network.