Only Altan remains after Rivada disqualified from 700MHz wholesale tender

7 Nov 2016

Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transport (Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes, SCT) has announced that New York-based Rivada Networks has been disqualified from its ‘Red Compartida’ 700MHz wholesale network tender after failing to fulfil its financial obligations. The decision means that Altan, a consortium including Axtel, Megacable and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is the only remaining bidder involved with the process. The SCT will issue its final decision on 17 November, as planned.

For its part, Rivada has issued a press statement outlining its grievances with the decision. The statement reads: ‘Rivada has complied with every requirement put before us by the Mexican government, despite the fact that the government repeatedly moved the goalposts on bidders in the final weeks and months. We will contest this decision in the courts and we are confident we will be reinstated. The Mexican people deserve a true competition for this important initiative, not a coronation of a pre-selected victor. Only Rivada’s consortium ensures a truly neutral network, free from influence from incumbents in Mexico, as the Constitution demands and the government claims to want.’

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 – delivering coverage to 85% of the population within five years.