Mexico's 700MHz open access network tender faces new delay

20 Jul 2016

Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones, Ifetel) will delay its announcement of the winners of its nationwide 700MHz open access network tender until 17 November 2016, citing the complexity of some 900 queries submitted by the bidders, as well as certain requests from international financial institutions interested in backing the project. The Secretariat of Communications and Transport (Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes, SCT) was initially expected to declare the tender winners on 24 August. In light of the postponement, interested applicants now have until 20 October to submit bids. Final contracts will be signed on or before 27 January 2017.

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 the initially forecast 20,000.