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Federal Telecommunications Institute

The Federal Telecommunications Institute (Spanish: Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones; abbreviated as IFT and incorrectly referred to as IFETEL) is an independent government agency of Mexico charged with the regulation of telecommunications and broadcasting services. It was formed on September 10, 2013, as part of larger reforms to Mexican telecom regulations, and replaced the Federal Telecommunications Commission (Cofetel).

Federal Telecommunications Institute
Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones
Agency overview
FormedSeptember 10, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-09-10)
Preceding agency
JurisdictionFederal government of Mexico
HeadquartersInsurgentes Sur 1143, Benito Juárez, Col. Nochebuena, 03720 Mexico City, Mexico
19°22′55″N 99°10′36″W / 19.3818488°N 99.1767167°W / 19.3818488; -99.1767167Coordinates: 19°22′55″N 99°10′36″W / 19.3818488°N 99.1767167°W / 19.3818488; -99.1767167
Annual budgetMX$2,000,000,000.00[1]
Agency executive
  • Gabriel Oswaldo Contreras Saldívar, President

The current President of the IFT is Gabriel Oswaldo Contreras Saldívar.



On August 8, 1996, President Ernesto Zedillo created Cofetel, which originally was based in the tower of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation.

In 2013, President Enrique Peña Nieto created the IFT to replace Cofetel as part of the telecommunications reform package of the Pacto por México. The IFT is an autonomous federal agency that is responsible for the regulation of the use of spectrum, telecommunications and broadcasting networks and offerings, and access to infrastructure. IFT also regulates the awarding of concessions and permits for broadcast stations and promotes and protects competition in telecommunications.

Through an agreement with PROFECO, the IFT also handles user comments and complaints for communications services.


The IFT is headed by a board of seven commissioners, including a Chair. They are each nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The sitting commissioners are:

Mexican telecommunications reform 2015-16 (Red Compartida)Edit

Red Compartida (Red Shared) is the official name of the network that will result from the Mexican Government's 2014-2016 effort to overhaul its telecommunications industry by introducing competition into the marketplace. If successful, the Red Compartida network will be the first fully wholesale mobile network deployed anywhere in the world.


America Movil, the company owned by Carlos Slim, Mexico's richest man[2], has long held a monopoly in the telecommunications marketplace in Mexico. In July 2014, it was reported in Forbes Magazine that Slim controlled 80% of Mexico’s landline market and 70% of the wireless market.[3] According to the Los Angeles Times, Mexican consumers have long been complaining at the “high costs and spotty service” provided by Slim’s companies.[4] Over the years, Slim has been accused of engaging in anti-competitive practices – for example, using his control over the telecommunications infrastructure to charge prohibitive connection fees to competitors.[5]

On July 9, 2014, the Mexican Government passed wide-ranging telecommunications reforms, designed to abolish long-distance phone charges, make it easier for customers to switch phone companies, and broaden access to free-to-air television stations.[6] In response, Slim announced that he would reduce his market share substantially, and announced plans to sell off America Movil assets worth up to 7 billion dollars.

Under the new laws, the Mexican telecommunications regulator was required to establish a wholesale-only wireless network — a "carrier's carrier" that will sell mobile-network capacity to all comers.[7] In 2015, the regulator announced the Red Compartida initiative.

Wholesale networkEdit

The Red Compartida network will be “wholesale only”. This means that the company which builds and operates the network will not be involved in providing mobile service to consumers. Instead, the operator will provide access to the network to mobile operators, who will in turn use the network capacity to provide a consumer mobile product. Access to the network for these operators will be sold to the highest bidder in regular auctions.

The advantage of a wholesale only network is that many new entrants can enter the Mexican consumer market at once. The cost of building a mobile network is prohibitive and requires billions of dollars in capital outlay. By providing the infrastructure through a wholesale only network, the cost of offering a new consumer service to Mexican customers will be significantly reduced.

The Mexican Government expects the construction of the wholesale network, and the resultant entry of new providers to the Mexican market to generate 13 billion dollars of Foreign Direct Investment over a three-year period.[8]

International reactionEdit

The Red Compartida project received international recognition at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in 2016. An award was given to Mexico for its efforts in the area of “Governmental Leadership.” According to Monica Aspe, Mexico’s sub-secretary for telecommunications and transport, receipt of recognition in this area was a landmark telecommunications development in her country. She explained that, in the past, “European countries and China were almost solely the recipients of this award.”[9]

On the other hand, the giant US provider AT&T, which has in recent years invested 4.4 billion dollars in Mexico, was reported to be “particularly discomfited” with the project, especially since as an existing operator, they would be barred from taking part.[10]

Antitrust requirementsEdit

The Mexican Government requires that any bidder planning to construct the Red Compartida Network demonstrate that they have no ties whatever to any mobile service provider already operating in Mexico.


An announcement awarding the project to the successful bidder is expected in October 2016.

Potential biddersEdit

Irish-American firm Rivada Networks has announced that it will bid to build the Red Compartida network. Several other companies are believed to be considering bids.


  1. ^ Secretaría de Gobernación (3 December 2013). "Presupuesto de Egresos de la Federación para el Ejercicio Fiscal 2014". Diario Oficial de la Federación.
  2. ^ "Carlos Slim Helu & family". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  3. ^ Estevez, Dolia. "In A Surprising Move, Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim To Sell Telecom Assets In Compliance With New Anti-Trust Rules". Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  4. ^ Times, Los Angeles. "Mexico telecom overhaul passes, billionaire Carlos Slim loses -- maybe". Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  5. ^ Emspak, Jesse (2014-10-31). "How Carlos Slim Built His Fortune". Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  6. ^ "Slimming down". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  7. ^ "From oligopoly to competition: the story of Mexico's telecom reform - CapX". 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  8. ^ "Mexican telecommunications infrastructure anticipated benefiting from significant flows of FDI - TECMA". 2016-03-02. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  9. ^ "Mexican telecommunications infrastructure anticipated benefiting from significant flows of FDI - TECMA". 2016-03-02. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  10. ^ "Mexico's wireless giants don't want to share - CapX". 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2016-09-05.

External linksEdit