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Mexico does not have "an environment for investments in 5G, but the country needs it": AT&T

The fifth generation of networks has begun to develop in Mexico, but it is making its way in the midst of a complex context where there is still a shortage of semiconductors and inflation tightens the pockets of both users and companies. Despite these circumstances, Mónica Aspe, CEO of AT&T Mexico , acknowledges that although it is not “an environment conducive to large investments in 5G, the country needs it.”

“We are in an interesting and complex moment as an industry: inflation raises the costs of companies and there is low growth, while customers are feeling this economic pressure,” said the director during her presentation at the Inter.Mx Expansión Summit 2022 .

The fifth generation in networks will allow optimizing processes in industries such as mining , health , education , among others, as well as transforming the economy and increasing productivity. To reach this point, telecommunications companies require robust investments for the acquisition of spectrum, but in Mexico this input remains one of the highest costs at the international level.

For next year there will not be an update of the payment of annual rights for the spectrum , thanks to the initiative that the IFT sent to the Chamber of Deputies, Aspe says that the measure is ‘insufficient’, but at least speaks of some sensitivity if Take into account that the deployment of 5G will require 10 times more infrastructure than it currently has.

In addition to the development of 5G, connectivity has become a cornerstone since the pandemic due to the fact that various companies have continued their operations via home office , while online purchases have also increased and entertainment through streaming demands better quality from Internet.

Totalplay has been one of the companies that has faced the new connectivity demands that users and companies demand. For this reason, since 2020 it has devoted a large part of its investment to increasing and improving its infrastructure, particularly fiber optics .

“Adversity turns into opportunities, we have redoubled investments during the pandemic and (Totalplay) was one of the groups that invested the most (…) 1,000 million dollars, one of the largest investments because the amount of infrastructure (deployed) has been brutal and it is necessary in this normality,” said Héctor Nava, CEO of Totalplay Empresarial, during his participation in the Inter.Mx Expansión Summit 2022.

Challenges and opportunities to grow

AT&T and Totalplay agree that the pandemic forced companies to innovate and even modify work strategies, and it was also an opportunity to grow and improve their operations.

For example, says Mónica Aspe, the telecommunications company of American origin had to adapt its telephone plans to the new economic reality of Mexicans, and for this reason, it launched its telephone plan customization strategy, which has helped it to increase your user base.

“At AT&T we had to innovate and be faster to adjust offers and services in times of the pandemic. Inflation, for example, we see personalized postpaid payment in different channels, new mobile applications and an internal transformation that can keep up with this rate of change”, says Aspe.

But the challenges still persist, as pointed out by Héctor Nava, who assures that the permits for the deployment of infrastructure are still slow. Therefore, it is necessary to respect the regulatory framework to expand coverage in the country.

Aspe pointed out that he “would like to see decisive action by the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) to change the circumstances of the market and stop the flagrant anti-competitive practices that persist”, as well as lower the cost of the spectrum, so that what is saved in that spending go from investment to the new 5G technology.

Agility, flexibility and dynamism are inherent characteristics of Totalplay

Since the beginning of the pandemic and up to the present, the telecommunications sector has had the opportunity to help society and, at the same time, to grow.

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