By Christine Murray and Tomás Sarmiento / Reuters
Mexico will launch today (Friday) a long-delayed tender for one of the largest infrastructure projects under President Enrique Pena Nieto, a wholesale telecoms network that will cover most of the country.
The project, which was meant to be launched by 2014, is part of a sweeping telecoms reform aimed at curbing the dominance of Carlos Slim’s America Movil and improving Mexico’s low levels of cell phone penetration and network coverage.
It offers the winner cheap use of high quality spectrum in the 700MHz band and a 20-year public-private partnership contract to build a 4G LTE mobile network that operators and virtual network operators can rent.
“Its a change in the rules of the game,” telecoms minister Monica Aspe said in an interview late on Thursday.
The government estimates that 85 percent coverage would require an investment of around $3.5 billion, while 95 percent would cost around $7 billion.