Start chopping the limes, Huawei and Nokia are throwing a party in Mexico

Huawei and Nokia have been named as technology partners to design, build and operate a new nationwide LTE and 5G-ready wholesale network in Mexico.

Red Compartida is one of the more ambitious telco projects doing the rounds at the moment, as the Mexican government aims to create a wireless broadband nationwide which will offer coverage to 92% of the population. The tender was won late last year by the ALTÁN Redes consortium as the only bidder.

As part of the agreement, Huawei will take care of the central and southern regions of Mexico, as well as providing the backbone, while Nokia will take care of the northern part of the country, as well as construction of the network’s core, including the Network Operation Center (NOC) and Security Operation Center (SOC).

“It has been a very demanding selection process, as Red Compartida is today’s most ambitious telecoms project worldwide,” said Joaquín Coronado, Managing Director of ALTÁN Redes. “The quality of the technology, experience, roll-out capacity as well as balance sheet potential are aspects that we have taken into account.

“With Huawei and Nokia as technology partners, I am convinced that Red Compartida will have unparalleled quality and reach. We are confident that our partners Huawei and Nokia will soon provide Mexico with the best mobile broadband 4G-LTE technology available worldwide.”

The Red Compartida project itself would appear to be Mexico’s attempt to create a government-owned network wholesale business model, similar to that of Openreach in the UK, which would be leased out to various operators.

In terms of drivers for the project, the party-line is to create a ‘more dynamic telecommunications sector promotes more national and foreign investment, and will strength the economy’s productivity and competitiveness’. What fluffy language like this actually means is anybody’s guess, though a sceptical individual might come to the conclusion the Mexican government might want to dilute the power and influence of Carlos Slim.

Slim’s América Móvil is one of the most dominant organizations in Mexico, with its Telcel brand controlling roughly 65% of the mobile market share, according to the Ovum’s WCIS. However, over the course of the last couple of years, there have been moves from the Mexican government to reduce this influence.

Back in 2014, new laws were passed introducing special regulatory restrictions unless the América Móvil machine reduced its market share. Elsewhere, AT&T acquired Iusacell and Nextel, as well as pumping more than $3 billion into the country to improve its mobile network. One might come to the conclusion that Red Compartida has been put in place to offer additional alternatives, continuing to erode the power of Slim and América Móvil.

That said, the intentions of the Mexican government will be of little concern to Huawei and Nokia. As long as there is enough tequila and sombreros to send back home, they’ll be happy. Another question worth asking is why Ericsson hasn’t been invited to the party? Perhaps the Swedes were spending too much time playing with videos and strategizing to come play?

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