insufficient. This is how the telecommunications companies rate the efforts that the government has undertaken so far to reduce the digital divide in the country.
According to the latest National Survey on Availability and Use of Information Technologies in Households (ENDUTIH), 78.3% of the urban population uses the Internet, while in rural areas access to connectivity is 50.4%, which means that the digital divide still persists.
Enrique Yamuni, CEO of Megacable and now the new president of the National Chamber of the Electronic, Telecommunications and Information Technology Industry (Canieti), explained that although the federal government has allocated investment to reach remote areas of the country, this through of the company CFE Telecomunicaciones e Internet para Todos, the Executive requires promoting a co-investment between the public and private initiative to close the digital divide.
But halfway through the six-year term, no synergy has been generated between the two actors. The only co-investment project between the public and private initiatives, Yamuni said, is the Altán Redes Shared Network. For this project, the State provided the frequencies, so that deployment to remote areas could begin. But “unfortunately it hasn’t gone well for him,” Yamuni admitted.
Despite this, the Canieti representative said that the private sector “will continue to invest”, but it will do so in areas where the infrastructure becomes “a profitable investment”. “Where there is no return on investment, that is where the government has to intervene,” warned Yamuni during his participation in the Annual Convention of Canieti.
“We have to deal with the patrol”
Guillermo Cordera, general director of American Tower Mexico, noted that another barrier that inhibits the deployment of the infrastructure is the lack of transparency and standardization in the granting of permits to work in the municipalities, which he said is due to a lack of coordination at the three levels of government.
“We have entered into state contracts in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Hidalgo and other governments (…) We have even expressed the challenges we face when we want to make an investment (…)”, assured the director of American Tower.
Yamuni added that Megacable has faced uncertainty in deploying infrastructure. “A rule of law is required and although the law exists, nobody enforces it. It is a problem to have security for the deployment of the network, because anyone arrives, stops you and you have to deal with the patrol”, he said.
Lack of competition
Monica Aspe, CEO of AT&T Mexico, commented that to achieve digital inclusion a “huge investment” is required, which is conditional on having an “even field” in the market. Achieving a better competitive environment in the Mexican market is relevant for the company to maintain the rate of investment required to increase connectivity in the country, especially in a context where the deployment of 5G technology is already becoming a reality for the country.
Camilo Aya, CEO of Telefónica México, agreed that the basis for having a good infrastructure is competition. But “the mobile sector is a very concentrated sector with an operator that has a 72% stake and this means that there is no appetite to invest,” he said.
Aya recalled that this is why it allows them to continue competing by taking advantage of the underutilized infrastructure of other operators.
A complete IFT
Aspe assured that in order to achieve a feeling of certainty in the sector it is also necessary to have the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) with a full plenary, since now it only has four commissioners of the seven it requires to operate effectively.
But yesterday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador rejected the validity of the shortlists for commissioners to the Federal Institute of Telecommunications ( IFT ) and for the Federal Commission of Economic Competition ( Cofece ), so he will not select any profile for both. regulatory bodies.
The telecommunications regulator has three unfilled positions and operates with an interim presidency.