Spectrum frequency bands in Mexico

The commercial use of the spectrum frequency bands in Mexico requires a concession that the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) bids and awards for a (renewable) 20-year period.

Generally, the bands are tendered to provide service throughout the territory, but in some cases they may be tendered to provide services by region or locality.

According to the Mexican government, all operators may participate in the bids, except for the preponderant economic agent (AEP), which requires authorization from the IFT.

Upon granting (and renewing) a concession, operators pay a fee, the amount of which is set by the IFT, subject to the opinion of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, SCHP).

In addition, concessionaires pay annual fees determined by Congress as proposed by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP).

According to the IFT, the use of the spectrum in Mexico has a high cost; annual fees represent 80% of the total cost.

Frequency Bands

In 2021, the Mexican Congress increased the amount of annual fees for several frequency bands and introduced annual fees for bands that were exempted.

The IFT considers that this increase could impede investments; disincentivize the participation of current operators in bidding processes; and create barriers to entry for new entrants, which could impact end-user fees and accelerate the spectrum return process that began in 2019.

According to the authorities, the spectrum return process will result in an annual revenue loss of 4.5 billion pesos.

In 2021, the IFT tendered frequency blocks, but several of these were left deserted; as a consequence the Institute submitted a proposal for the amount of annual fees to be modified.

During the last four years, the main change related to network interconnection was the elimination of the «zero tariff», an asymmetric regulatory measure imposed by the IFT on América Móvil, according to which it could not charge termination fees to its competitors.

The «zero tariff» was eliminated on January 1, 2018 for mobile service and on January 1, 2019 for fixed service.

Since that date América Móvil can charge termination fees, which are regulated by the IFT.

The rest of the operators freely agree on the conditions to interconnect their networks, including tariffs.


Redacción Opportimes