High spectrum costs in Mexico impede technological development, experts warn

Experts advocate shifting the current approach focused on revenue generation towards policies prioritizing provision and accessibility of digital services.

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Industry experts are warning that the high cost of radio spectrum licensing in Mexico impedes the adoption of new technologies and slows development. Mexico is criticised for making the least spectrum available to the population, discouraging investment in telecommunications services like 5G networks and exacerbating unequal access to communication technology. 

Experts argue that Mexico should shift its approach from focusing on revenue generation through high prices to policies that prioritise the provision and accessibility of digital services. The excessive spectrum costs in Mexico surpass the Latin American average and act as a barrier to technological advancement, according to Alejandro Adamowicz, Director of Technology and Strategy for Latin America of the GSMA. 

The upcoming tenders by Mexico’s Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) for expanding 5G services are of particular concern, as the high prices could lead to a monopoly of one company, Telcel, which is dominating the mobile telecommunications sector, hampering competition. 

Telcel, while expressing interest in initiatives to improve access to digital technology in rural areas and among the elderly population, also supports the call for more affordable radio bands. The IFT claims to have reduced taxes on radio bands by almost 10%, but industry experts believe further reductions are needed.