Telcel, AT&T and Movistar, the three major operators in Mexico, can now connect to the Altán Shared Network, an LTE network that aims to cover most areas of the country, but in particular its underserved areas.
According to Mexican media, Altán Redes, which describes itself as “the Mexican company responsible for designing, developing, operating and marketing the Red Compartida, the Network for Everyone” has signed an agreement with the national government so that Telcel, AT&T and Movistar can connect to its network.
Altán’s sharing of its infrastructure with these three major players will, it suggests, allow it to bring communications to hard-to-reach areas with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants. Salvador Álvarez, director general of Altán Redes, has described this as a win-win for all parties.
Operators can take advantage of Altán’s already installed infrastructure and bring connectivity to their customers in areas where they did not previously have coverage. In addition, the Red Compartida adds more users in areas with little traffic, which gives the network sustainability.
The Red Compartida currently provides 4.5G LTE coverage to 61.66 percent of the total population of Mexico. This so-called ‘Social Roaming’ agreement helps it to fulfil its promise to connect the majority of Mexicans and close the digital divide.
Built via public private partnership, Red Compartida is a 20-year concession awarded by the Mexican government to Altán Redes that aims for the development of a wholesale, universal, continuous, neutral and non-discriminatory 4G LTE network that will cover 92.2 percent of the Mexican population by 2024. This will include 15 percent coverage in towns of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants.
La Red Compartida uses 700MHz spectrum. Altán Redes is reportedly investing $7 billion in building out the network so that it can be used by “network and non-network operators in a non-biased wholesale business model”. Of course, whether Mexico’s operators are happy to work with that business model remains to be seen.