EconomyFinancialCFE Telecom: the awkward guest at the private operators'...

CFE Telecom: the awkward guest at the private operators' party?

CFE Telecomunicaciones e Internet para Todos has begun to offer mobile telephony services in the country with 4.5G technology in markets that are served by companies such as AT&T , Telcel , Telefónica and virtual mobile operators ( OMV ), despite the fact that its title of The concession establishes that it can only operate in places where there is no offer of services yet .

This, added to other favorable conditions under which CFE Telecom operates –such as access to the Altán Redes Shared Network–, have triggered alerts from telecommunications operators, who warn that the arrival of the new state player could distort the telephony market. mobile.

For Enrique Yamuni, CEO of Megacable, the entry of CFE Telecom into mobile telephony markets that are already served by large telecommunications companies will mainly affect wireless operators such as AT&T, Telcel and Telefónica. “CFE Telecom has to go where there is no one, not to Mexico City, Guadalajara or Hermosillo,” he said in an interview with the media.

Virtual MVNO fees

CFE Telecom reaches the market with an offer of prepaid plans that start at 30 pesos, for 4 GB of internet and 250 minutes of calls; up to 300 pesos, for 40 GB of internet and 1500 minutes. It also has postpaid packages ranging from 400 to 2,100 pesos.

One of the doubts that looms is whether CFE Telecom will operate unequally with respect to other companies. On the one hand, it will use the infrastructure of Altán Redes and it is not known if it will pay for the use of the network as other companies do. In addition, the state company can prey on rates, that is, impose lower rates on the mobile market, and other companies cannot replicate those offers.

“If we suddenly begin to see that CFE Telecom offers more affordable plans or packages, which other MVNOs cannot replicate, then the alarm bells should sound. One would have to ask what this company is doing, or where it is obtaining these resources and leverage, to achieve these rates”, warns Michel Hernández Tafoya, director of Observatel.

“We know that there are internet channels where [SIM cards] can be sold and marketed and the regulator would have to detect how CFE can turn them around. But someone has to make sure that people do not seek to take advantage of lower rates when they do not live in those areas and also that CFE Telecom is not permissive , ”adds Jesús Romo, director of the Telconomy consultancy.

But the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) told Expansión via transparency that “effective compliance with the conditions established in the concession titles or any other applicable regulations is the responsibility of the concessionaires “, in this case of the same state company.

The role of the State

The industry believes that the federal government should look for alternatives to close the digital divide, instead of competing with telecommunications companies. “I believe that the federal government can make better use of its resources if it directly subsidizes families or hires the services of a local operator, because there are several,” Yamuni said.

According to data from ENDUTIH 2021, in Mexico only 81.6% of the population is an Internet user . Of this percentage, 56.5% is in urban areas and 56.5% in rural areas. Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz are the entities with the least access to the internet at home.

Mónica Aspe, CEO of AT&T Mexico, considers that “there is a role where the operators are and there is a role for the State” , and the role of the latter is to develop a public policy that defines objectives and functions to achieve digital inclusion in the country.

“There is a complementary space for the State and the market, and together we can find the best mechanisms to move towards digital inclusion. There is something for all of us to do our part to move towards connecting the largest possible segments of the population because access to telecommunications is a fundamental enabler,” Aspe said in an interview with the media.

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