Don´t Panic: The First-Mover Guide to the New Mexican Telecom Bill
Photo credit: Firefox Mobile by Johan Larsson
It happened Sunday just before midnight. Politicians from The Pact for Mexico, this is, an alliance made by major political parties for debating amendments to structural laws in Mexico, agreed on a Telecom Bill to be presented to the Mexican Congress.
Yesterday, at noon, The Pact for Mexico and the Federal Government made a press event to officially present the Telecom Bill to society. This means that this Bill has already received pre-approval from majority of congressmen, and most likely will pass in essence.
As wrote in my Post: “How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Telecom and Love the Pact” the Telecom Bill was imminent with no way back. Increasing growth of telecom and IT services, would eventually make politicians to reach agreements to set things right in the telecom industry.
Certainly, this Bill will boost telecom business at mid and long-term, taking many industries with them. For first-movers, time is of the essence. Here are some highlights to understand the range of this Amendment:
1.There is a constitutional right to access broadband and access to information. Infomercials disguised as news are forbidden.
2. State will transform current COFETEL (telecom agency) and COFECO (antitrust agency) from subordinated government bodies to the Ministries of Communications and Economy, respectively, into two autonomous agencies with enough power to coordinate telecom industry and commercial markets (other than telecom).
3. Licenses and spectrum will be reorganised to allow converging telecom services. Meaning that companies may render converging services under one license, rather than having several permits, authorisations and concessions. New telecom agency will grant and revoke licenses, rather than the Ministry of Communications, as happened in the past.
3.Two new free-to-air networks will be placed under tender. Major players with 6 MHz are not invited.
4. Must-carry and must-offer obligations are included. Free-to-air TV has to offer broadcasted content and CATVs must carry those signals, both for free. There is an exception to “major” players, that would pay for them.
4. Foreign investment will be allowed at 100% in fixed and mobile services, and up to 49% in free-to-air TV and radio.
5. Local bundle for telecom, radio and TV networks of “major” players must be shared.
6. Government will grow its telecom network allowing private-public projects.
7. Bands of 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz will be reorganised, and a part used for wholesale.
It is important to notice that this Bill is to the Mexican constitution, and would require to have federal laws to detail all these aspects. However, the business expectations are great.
I can hardly find some time to discuss all aspects that come to my mind at this moment, of write “deep thoughts” of each topic. However, some topics come to my mind:
- Mexican telecom operators, no matter size or network size, have just increased market value.
- Content will be required to fill-in air time and CATVs.
- Big data analytic will play a big role in the expansion of the services, as well as in the market defence.
- The internet of things could have found broadband access, but also an emerging market that loves gadgets.
- Videocasting, internet-TV and VOD could explode during next years. Internet radio could find a niche too.
- Advertising must find other lucrative niches other than infomercial news. Maybe migrate to the internet.
- Telemedicine, electronic files and other e-health business will be pushed by this Bill.
- Local governments will be more likely to implement e-government policies with better and cheaper internet access.
- Digital products will find a bigger market.
Telecom Bill appears to have a “Do Business in Mexico” all over it, and will attract many players into the market share. Now, it is the time of Mexico embracing this historic transformation.
I will find some time to write on several topics of the Bill, and some other that are not covered by it. Meanwhile, so long, and thanks for all the first-movers …