The Mexican telecommunication market


Mexico's telephone network is one of the most well-developed in Latin America, offering a whole range of modern telecommunication services. However telecom charges are still very high compared to those in the US or Europe.

Mexican Telmex is the market leader by a long way, so prices and fees are very high. Their main shareholder Carlos Slim has become one of the richest – if not the richest – man in the world. Critics say that his influence in Mexican politics has been a key factor behind his wealth, using his power to obstruct or at least limit any political initiatives to increase competition in the market.

Given the ease with which Mexican policies can be influenced, either informally or through direct corruption, questions are often asked about the origins of Slim’s vast fortune. Then again telephone companies are fighting everywhere to hold onto their position in the market, and many international markets are only gradually being liberalised. In Mexico Slim’s Telmex have already had to swallow a few laws intended to increase competition in the market. Although most of these changes were necessary in order for Mexico to join the WTO (World Trade Organization), and were therefore only carried out half-heartedly, they have also made it possible for alternative providers to enter the market to at least try to compete with Telmex.

Coverage and fees

Landline coverage in Mexico reaches the level of the US and Western Europe. Today more and more people are turning to wireless connections, especially in rural areas. Telmex’s wireless network covers almost all of Mexico, while alternative providers do not yet provide much coverage in remote areas.

Telecom services include all modern technologies like ADSL and the latest GSM and 3G mobile technologies. Telmex is reinvesting large parts of their monopoly profits in new networks and technology. In bigger cities you will find almost every service you are used to from home, while in remote areas products and connections are a lot more limited.

Line rentals, high-speed connections and telephone charges (especially for international calls) are still high compared to Northern America or Europe. They seem even more expensive when compared with an average household income in the local area.

However prices start to decline whenever there is competition for Telmex. In large cities you can often use an alternative provider for landlines and internet access. For international calls you can use a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) service or – if there is no high-speed internet access – one of the many prepay cards that offer significant savings on international calls. For mobile phones you might consider using a provider other than Telmex if the coverage suits your needs. In any case it is always worth shopping around and comparing your options if you want to save some money.

Further reading

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