Mexico’s new wholesale mobile network a model for SA

Mexico’s new wholesale mobile network a model for SA

Progress: The network operators that use cellphone towers such as this one, have agreed to buy a significant amount of capacity from the wholesale open-access network. Inset: Siyabonga Cwele, the telecoms minister. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/BUSINESS DAY Mexico’s new wholesale mobile network, which SA regulators want to emulate to an extent, could have 20 contracts in place with private-sector operators by the end of 2018.

SA’s contentious Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, which is ready to be presented to parliament, recommends the creation of a wholesale open-access network that would give smaller operators and new entrants a leg up.

Along with a controversial clause that says Vodacom and MTN will have to open up their networks to rivals, the bill is also aimed at boosting competition and lowering connectivity costs.

Mexico’s version of a wholesale national network, which launched in March, has signed contracts with 13 groups that will buy capacity from the network.

"There has been a lot of interest, we will probably have more contracts, I guess in a month," says Fernando Borjon, project manager and head of Mexico’s Telecommunications Investment Promotion Agency. Some regulators in Europe are also considering forcing telecommunications companies to spin off their infrastructure businesses to spur competition. Mexico’s Red Compartida shared network is a public-private partnership operated by the Altan Redes consortium, which has investors including Morgan Stanley and the International Finance Corporation. The financiers are mandated to raise the national network’s coverage from 32% to 92% by 2024.

Borjon says that of Mexico’s three network operators, AT&T was […]

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