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Mexico's 700MHz tender on track; analogue switch-off dates revealed

25 Nov 2015

Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones, Ifetel) has confirmed that the freeing up of 700MHz ‘digital dividend’ spectrum is on schedule, and the analogue switch-off will take place in an initial six states at midnight on 17 December. The first states to transition to digital broadcasting have been identified as Sonora, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Puebla, the State of Mexico and Distrito Federal.

Running in parallel, fellow Mexican regulator the Secretary of Communications and Transport (Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes, SCT) issued an invitation for interested parties to participate in the tender for the so-called ‘Shared Network’ project. The tender, which will see the SCT supported by financial advisor Bank of America Merrill Lynch alongside local firm Transparencia Mexicana, is due to commence on 29 January 2016.

TeleGeography notes that the Shared Network, which will have exclusive use of a 90MHz block of spectrum in the 700MHz band, was written into Mexico’s constitution in 2013 as part of a sector overhaul designed to curb the dominance of America Movil (AM)-backed Telcel. The plan calls for groups of private companies to bid for the right to build and run the network, which would rent capacity to mobile providers. Current government assumptions price the overall project at around USD7 billion, down from an original USD10 billion ten-year projection, with the number of cell towers likely to be closer to 12,000 than 20,000.

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