Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the second most-populous country in Latin America. About 70% of the people live in urban areas. According to some estimates, the population of the area around the capital, Mexico City, is about 18 million, which would make it the largest concentration of population in the Western Hemisphere. Due to Mexico’s geographical peculiarities, with two high altitude mountain ranges extending from the Rocky Mountains—providing landline telephone service at remote mountainous areas is expensive, and penetration of line phones per capita is low compared to other Latin American countries.
The Internet penetration rate was around 66% by the end of 2018. Mexico has an adequate telephone service for business and government, overall quality is improving and mobile cellular availability is increasing, with mobile subscribers far outnumbering fixed-line subscribers. Mexico is preparing for 5G and LTE-M services. Despite earlier growth, penetration of fixed lines remains very low. On the other hand, the development of broadband market started late, but it enjoyed a high growth rate. The broadband market has the highest growth of all communication markets in Mexico, even though it suffers from a lack of competition, with the incumbent Telmex still accounting for the majority of subscribers.
Mexico’s telecom sector expects to undergo a significant degree of development over the next years. The fixed-line and mobile markets are still dominated by the incumbent operator, with about 80% market share, despite the liberalization of the communications market in the 1990s. The broadband sector is a significant growth area in Mexico’s telecoms market. In the broadband sector, the main cable TV providers Megacable and Grupo Televisa are widening their bundled services offerings, but there is still margin for further market development because broadband penetration is relatively low. The Federal Telecommunications Institute (abbreviated in Spanish as IFETEL or IFT) is an independent government agency that is charged with the regulation of telecommunications and broadcasting services in Mexico.
Mexico’s current government has emphasized economic reforms, passing and implementing sweeping energy, financial, fiscal, and telecommunications reform legislation, among others, with the long-term aim to improve competitiveness and economic growth across the Mexican economy. Since 2015, Mexico has held public auctions of oil and gas exploration and development rights and for long-term electric power generation contracts. Mexico has also issued permits for private sector import, distribution, and retail sales of refined petroleum products in an effort to attract private investment into the energy sector and boost production.
Since 2013, Mexico’s economic growth has averaged 2% annually, falling short of private-sector expectations that sweeping reforms by the Government would bolster economic prospects. Growth is predicted to remain below potential given falling oil production, weak oil prices, structural issues such as low productivity, high inequality, a large informal sector employing over half of the workforce, weak rule of law, and corruption.
The Mexican telecommunications industry is mostly dominated by Telmex (Teléfonos de México),which was privatized in 1990. Telmex has diversified its operations by incorporating Internet services and mobile telephony. It has also expanded its operations to Colombia, Peru, Chile,Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador, and the United States. The Mexican regulator recently determined that Telmex’s dominance warrants further regulation in certain sectors, and the company has been fined for obstructing interconnection to other operators.
RELEVANT INTERNET EXCHANGE POINTS
* Mexico Internet Exchange Point