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Mexican regulator to launch tender for shared 4G network

Ifetel, the new Mexican telecoms regulator that replaced CoFeTel in 2015, will on January 29 launch a tender for a carrier's carrier LTE network.

The regulator said it sees infrastructure as an important tool to ensure good mobile coverage and broadband in rural areas, and is looking for a carrier’s carrier for the new LTE network.

The carrier’s carrier business model involves an operator with a mobile network serving only wholesale customers, such as mobile operators, ISPs, and MVNOs. This operator is in theory able to build and run its network more cost-effectively.

The key differentiator is that a carrier’s carrier does not compete with other players because it does not serve end users. The conflict of interest derived from mandated access, where an operator needs to compete on the retail market with its wholesale customers, is removed.

Consolidation has a number of potential benefits including reduced OPEX on network operations, reduced CAPEX with fewer sites and the removal of redundant sites, lower marketing costs and better utilization of spectrum and infrastructure investment. Carrier’s carrier is seen as being most suited for markets with large rural areas with poor internet access. It may also be a solution for operators with aggressive MVNO strategies.

Mexico is auctioning AWS from 15 February, and will sell 700 MHz of spectrum on January 29, which is reserved for a shared 4G network. Ifetel has been working in recent months to clear the 700 MHz airwaves ahead of the sale.

The AWS process, meanwhile, will offer a total of 80 MHz of spectrum in the midrange bands for LTE. Ifetel gave operators a deadline of December 17 to submit applications.

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