Mexico is the only country in Latin America that does not have full convergence of telecommunications services.
Convergence is the technological capability of providing all voice, data, and video services through the same network and device.
América Móvil will sooner or later receive the authorization to host the pay-TV service. The question is how long we want to continue in the convergent delay.
Postponing América Móvil’s entry into pay-TV is a political decision that benefits its competitors but harms the digital well-being of Mexican households, users and consumers.
The Constitution says that telecommunications are public services of general interest and that the State will guarantee that they are provided under conditions of convergence, but we have been missing a constitutional mandate for almost nine years.
The authorization of the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) for Claro TV (a subsidiary of América Móvil) to offer limited television does not jeopardize economic competition; on the contrary, it will make it more dynamic and neither the regulator nor the government can be against it.
Televisa concentrates 64% of the total pay-TV subscribers. Megacable, Dish and Totalplay also offer the service.
Claro TV’s entry into the market will cause converging competition without endangering the market, for the simple reason that Televisa and three other providers are monopolizing it.
The concentration index of the limited television service is the only one that grew by 16.6% from June 2013 to December 2020. The other indices for mobile, fixed telephony and internet access decreased in the same period.
The pay-TV price index also rose by 24.6% in the same period, while the mobile phone price index fell by 43.9 percent.
The high concentration and the constant rise in prices in the pay-TV service is explained by political and regulatory protectionism that prevents América Móvil from entering the market.
In November 2020, it was declared that Televisa has significant market power in pay-TV; The best, most effective and most economical regulatory and asymmetric measure the IFT can impose is to place a competitor in front of it.
The authorization for Claro TV will lower the prices of telecommunications services by offering them in convergent voice, data and video packages.
Convergence and limited TV can reach low-income households with offers and packages that include telephony, broadband and social television.
Users of telecommunications services have the right to choose the service, provider, package, plan or tariff that best suits their needs; the absence of full convergence limits this basic right and limits the renewal of tariff plans.
América Móvil has committed an investment of an additional 8 billion pesos in the event that it gets the concession to provide the pay-TV service.
This investment will be used for the deployment of fiber optics that will enable access to broadband services and faster internet.
Allowing convergence to América Móvil means expanding internet coverage and improving broadband access in Mexico with fiber.
More fiber optics are preparing and making the country more competitive and attractive for the future deployment of the 5G network.
Competitors will also benefit because they will have access to the fiber optic network to compete in markets where they do not currently have a presence.
The Government of the Fourth Transformation and the National Digital Strategy should welcome the license for Claro TV, as the additional investment and convergence favors universal digital inclusion and the reduction of the digital divide.
Competitors will continue to oppose América Móvil’s authorization and competition in pay-TV with convergent offerings and attractive plans.
The IFT commissioners must free themselves from the pressure of being criticized by those who control television in Mexico. No commissioner is against convergence.
AT&T is behind the concern of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR, for its acronym in English) that America Movil’s entry into Pay TV will be delayed.
The pressure from the US government and AT&T by the USTR is a clear sign that pay-TV and full convergence are approaching.
AT&T pushes through the USTR when it does not even have a presence in the pay-TV market.
The United States is a converging market and Mexico does not have to be at the mercy of its trading partner.
AT&T knows that pay-TV and the convergence for Claro TV put it at a disadvantage compared to América Móvil, Televisa and the other fixed operators participating in the 5G auction, but this will force the US provider to respond and invest not to lose. competitiveness and market.
Convergence should not be the privilege of some operators, but a right of all users and consumers in Mexico.
President of the Mexican Association for the Right to Information (Amedi)
Media and telecommunications analyst and academic at UNAM. Study the media, new technologies, telecommunications, political communication and journalism. He is the author of the book media presidentialism. Media and power during the reign of Vicente Fox.