Photo credit: Ambience: Watcha Watchin? by Dennis Hamilton
MVS, one of the relevant telecom players in Mexico, has just won an spectrum license back in Court. MVS, formerly owned 90% of the 2.5 GHz Band, and used it for cable and other satellite services. MVS has settled with MInistry of Communications (SCT) for keeping 30% of this Band. Rest of the Band will be auctioned during 2014, even though a small part of it is still in dispute between SCT and operators.
Most probably, the next settlements will be in charge of the IFETEL, who recently received from SCT over 2,000 files of pending proceedings related to operators (current and applicants). MVS is technically ready for deploying internet broadband on the 2.5 GHz, ahead of everybody else, who will have to wait for the auctions.
Will MVS seek their old time partners Intel and Clearwire for their long-awaited broadband project? or Will MVS choose to sell spectrum to operators? or will go further and sell minutes to virtual operators. Under the new Telecom Reform, all free-to-air TV broadcasters must make available its signal for free to cable companies, and cable companies must carry that signal in full for free. However, satellite cable are only forced to must-carry signal that have a coverage of at least 51% within Mexican territory, and Televisa believe MVS should not must-carry.
This week, MVS had a meeting with IFETEL, the new telecom regulator, to discuss the rules for the “must-carry/must-offer”, in apparent willing absence of Televisa and TV Azteca. MVS seems very optimistic about getting a resolution in its favour. Cable companies have an annual growth in Mexico of 13.6%. So, whether “must-carry/must-offer” passes in favour of MVS, it could increase the value of the content, as the broadcast of episodes/shows will reach a bigger market to all other eligible cable companies, and advertising value could too.
Mexican telecom reform is breaking historic entry barriers, allowing mid-size companies like MVS to capitalize many years of work into the industry. Likewise, new entrants will have a fresh start capitalizing the Reform too. However, all these new entrants do not have the scars of the veteran, and that is certainly an edge for MVS: A seasoned telecom team.