|Issue:||Latin America II 1996|
|Topic:||Wireless telephony in Mexico|
1. General The wireless communications sector in Mexico has undergone massive development to the point where it has taken up a position as one of the mobile telephone markets which has some of the highest growth rates in the world. The demand for wireless communications is increasing as fast as options become available, both in the type of service and in providers. These days everyone is looking at telecommunications and the reason is obviously not only the infrastructure growth potential in this area but also the large number of applications and services which could be put into effect with new technology such as GSM. 2. The Market The Mexican market is currently in a timelag built up over many years: considering that there are 18.4 million residential properties in the country and that 77.3% (14 million) of them have the opportunity to acquire basic telephone service, we can deduce that there are approximately 7.5 million Telmex users out of the total and that 6.5 million users have not been connected to the Telmex network. If we consider that approximately 59% of the total of these have the opportunity to acquire telephone service immediately, we are thus talking about a current timelagged market of about 3.8 million users solely for wireless telephone connection. Basic demand (E.g. Voice) As well as the requirements of basic telephony for residential use there is an ever-increasing business demand, seeing that business development requires in turn better opportunities for communications, at least on a basic level. Demand for communications with applications (Voice and Data) The demand for communications for combined voice and data use has grown over the past few years. This is due to our socio-geographical conditions meaning that wireless communications are indispensable in Mexico. The demand for wireless applications may be classified into Voice and Data transmission, the latter growing impressively, considering that traditionally in Mexico the networks for the transmission of Data have not been very reliable. 3. Technology In Mexico, the technology used is almost completely regulated by international standards with an open architecture. In particular, the switching base as well as transmission conform to European standards, whilst the aerial interfaces for cellular telephony are currently defined by the American standard AMPS. In the field of telecommunications in Mexico processes which will have a decisive influence upon the development of the market are being fostered: the selection of the most suitable technology. For the new wireless telephony markets, undoubtedly GSM, in the form of GSM Mhz for instance, is looking like the most viable, mature and widely available technology on the market, having been available for at least ten years and with millions of users all over the world. With new developments for 1800 and 1900 Mhz it is shaping up as the international standard par excellence, both for WLL applications and for pcs. 4. Time to Market Together with the technology selection process, the urgent need to break into a market as competitive as the Mexican one is vitally important. GSM, from its beginnings on 800 Mhz, has proved the maturity of its design and the experience gained by European manufacturing companies has meant that the process of installing a radio base these days only takes a couple of man hours including configuration and start-up. 5. Opportunities In Mexico the opportunities will be greatest for whoever is first to get a mature and properly tested product onto the market. The selection of the technology provider is an important decision, seeing that in most cases the provider will have to be capable of developing a turnkey project, including on some occasions the planning of the network. Conclusion For medium-sized local companies, a great opportunity is opening up, because anyone who can understand the technology and how to operate locally will be the most suitable partners for the installation, start-up and operation of the new networks which will be put into action in Mexico.