Mexico’s government has approved a budget of $155 million for the country’s newly formed regulator Ifetel, which is tasked with sparking competition among operators to push down the price of telecom service.
Mexico is working to overhaul its telecom sector, which outgrew the overall economy in the first quarter of 2013, led by growth in services such as satellite television and mobile broadband.
The budget earmarked for Ifetel is three times bigger than the budget allocated to Mexico’s Federal Commission of Telecommunications (Cofetel), says BNAmericas citing reports in the local press.
The new regulator is tasked with making maximum use of the spectrum to widen the coverage of wireless telecom services in remote regions of Mexico. Ifetel, which may take charge in a month’s time, is likely to force operators to give unbundled access to networks for competitors, and it could also order asset sales in some cases.
Mexico’s telecom sector has been expanding faster than the economy for years. Analysts are expecting even greater growth and investment in the wake of telecom reforms announced by the government.
Telecom operator America Movil, owned by the wealthy businessman Carlos Slim, holds nearly a 70% market share.
According to a recent report by Cofetel, the number of mobile subscribers has risen 6.4% to 101.7 million, and mobile traffic has increased 17% in the last year, while mobile broadband has grown 39% to 12.1 million subscriptions.