This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 10/17/2019

Telecommunications equipment continues to represent a best prospect industry sector for Mexico. This section provides a market overview and trade data.


Since 2010, the Mexican telecommunications market has consistently outpaced GDP growth, driven in large part by mobile telephony, broadband, and broadcasting. Mexico has a wireless penetration of 93.3 percent with more than 117 million active lines. According to the Mexican Federal Institute of Telecommunications (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones or IFT), at the end of 2018, Mexico had 18 million fixed broadband subscriptions, 67 mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, 83.5 million active smart phone lines, and 82.7 million internet users.

Mexico is the second-largest export destination after Hong Kong for U.S. telecommunications equipment (HS 8517), accounting for 12 percent of U.S. total export sales in this category. The value of U.S. exports of telecommunications equipment to Mexico was USD 2 billion through May 2018, compared to USD 988 million annually in 2017 and USD 1.3 billion in 2016. Growth over the last four years has been driven by recent investments in infrastructure and increased connectivity, as well as competition resulting from a sweeping reform of the telecommunications sector enacted in 2013 and 2014.

Mexico’s telecommunications sector has historically been plagued by near monopolistic agents. By establishing measures to improve competition and strengthening IFT’s regulatory powers, the telecommunications reform created a more attractive investment climate that motivated new players to enter the market. In 2015, AT&T acquired Iusacell and Nextel Mexico, Mexico’s third- and fourth-largest carriers, with a combined market share of eight percent. AT&T has since modernized and expanded its network in Mexico through investments totaling more than USD 3 billion. Mexico’s dominant wireless carrier, Telcel, is in turn investing USD 6 billion in technology and infrastructure.

Further growth in the sector is expected because of IFT’s award of advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum to AT&T and Telcel in February 2016. This spectrum is ideal for bandwidth-intensive applications such as video streaming, VoIP, and music downloads. Given optimistic growth projections of bandwidth requirements in Mexico, the regulator is expected to continue reassigning spectrum to optimize its use. In 2018, IFT auctioned spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band for the provision of 4G and 5G services. AT&T won those auctions and is now the market leader in terms of spectrum. Telcel’s market share in terms of revenue has not been significantly reduced since the reform. It still holds 70 percent of the market, while AT&T holds 19 percent. In terms of users, Telcel still dominates the market with a 62 percent share versus AT&T’s 14.5 percent.

The Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes or SCT) awarded the tender for the National Shared Wholesale Network (NSWN), known as Red Compartida in November 2016. Construction of the Red Compartida was mandated by the telecommunications reform to address the reform’s objectives of providing near-universal broadband coverage and increasing access to services in regions neglected by commercial carriers. The Red Compartida is a wholesale-only carrier, deploying infrastructure throughout the country and selling wholesale services to retail commercial carriers and Mexican Government agencies. Two consortia bid on the Red Compartida, and the project was awarded to Grupo Altan. Roll out of the network will continue until a goal of 92 percent coverage by 2024 is provided. At the end of 2018, the network had achieved a coverage of 35.2 percent.

The current policy of the Mexican Government is to provide universal connectivity, mostly through a program called Internet para Todos (Internet for All), which aims to establish internet hot spots in public areas such as town squares, schools, hospitals, and government buildings. According to SCT, the Internet Para Todos project will be "technology-neutral” and use any technology that covers the most people. This could include wireless broadband, fiber optic lines, satellites, or other mixed solution and could represent opportunities for U.S. companies.

Opportunities for television broadcasting equipment have grown since the Mexican Government auctioned two new national television networks. The first was awarded in May 2015 to Mexican media conglomerate Grupo Imagen. The second was divided into 32 channels that were awarded in 2017 to 13 different companies, among them, Mexican companies Telsusa and Grupo Multimedios, who were awarded more than half of the channels. These new players compete with Mexico’s established broadcasters Televisa and TV Azteca.

Radio broadcasting is also expecting infrastructure deployments as IFT is reorganizing the radio broadcasting spectrum to allow more stations to operate. IFT auctioned 191 FM and 66 AM stations in 2016 and is continuing to grant concessions for community radio broadcasters.

Leading Sub-Sectors

For U.S. companies offering software, hardware, or other products or services to operators, the main potential customers in the telecom market in Mexico are the following:
  • Wireless telephony. There are seven key wireless players, including Telcel, Movistar, AT& T, Maxcom, and Axtel. There two mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are Virgin Mobile and Megacel.
  • Internet. There are 10 Internet service providers in Mexico: Infinitum (Telmex), Movistar, Maxcom, Axtel, Izzi, Cablevision, Bestel, Megacable, Alestra, and TotalPlay.
  • Fixed telephony. There are nine providers of fixed services: Telmex, Movistar, Axtel, Izzi, Cablevision, Bestel, Megacable, Alestra, and TotalPlay.
  • Pay TV. Several of the fixed providers also play in the pay TV space: Dish, Maxcom, Axtel, Izzi, Cablevision, Bestel, Megacable, Alestra, and TotalPlay.
  • Telco-OTT Providers. OTT or “Over-The-Top” refers to telecommunications service provider that deliver one or more services and/or types of content across an IP (internet protocol) network. Mexico has 10 OTT providers: Claro Video, Claro Musica, Blim, Spotify, Max Diversion, Axtel TV, Veo, Megacable Play, Netflix, and Totalmovie.

Cross-Sector Demand
The carriers listed above have demand for services in the following areas:
  • Business intelligence software
  • CATV network applications
  • Consulting & IT systems integration; security services; telecommunications infrastructure; leased infrastructure (NOCs, SOCs); maintenance & service
  • Tailored software applications for vertical markets
  • Training (bundled with an overall solution)
  • Wireless applications (mainly focused on mobile broadband, such as TV)
  • Data center infrastructure
  • Cybersecurity
Service contracts are the predominant business model in the Mexican user market. Software-, Infrastructure-, and Platform-as-a-Service (SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS) will provide the best opportunities. General global technology trends are also reflected in Mexico and will lead to opportunities in several areas:
  • Cloud computing and network terminals, using web-based applications
  • Green IT equipment for data centers
  • Mobile broadband, online advertising, social networks, virtualization
  • 3G and LTE (4G) equipment for mobile carriers
  • Internet of things


The U.S. Commercial Service Mexico is happy to assist you in exploring telecommunications market opportunities. Carriers are increasing their spectrum capacity and LTE (4G) networks will continue expanding. Telcel and AT&T are expected to deploy 5G networks by 2019. Network and infrastructure projects are carried out by telecom original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) acting as integrators (including Nokia Network, NEC, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, and Juniper Networks). These OEMs actively pursue opportunities. U.S. companies looking to enter the market can reach out to them directly or partner with smaller local distributors who are vendors for the OEM integrators. Nokia and Huawei are the main equipment providers for the Red Compartida.
Other opportunities include cloud computing solutions, mobile applications, equipment maintenance, services, data centers, and energy-efficiency solutions (hardware, software, and services).

Web Resources

Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT)
Mexican Internet Association (AMI)
National Chamber of the Electronics, Telecommunications, and IT Industry (CANIETI)
National Chamber of Cable Television (CANITEC)
Mexican IT Industry Association (AMITI)



For more information on the telecommunications sector in Mexico, please contact:

Teresa Verthein
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City
Tel.: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5228
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

More Information

Mexico Information and Communication Technology Trade Development and Promotion