The telecommunications industry is mostly dominated by Telmex (Teléfonos de México), privatised in 1990. As of 2006, Telmex had expanded its operations to Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay and the United States. Other players in the domestic industry are Axtel and Maxcom. Due to Mexican orography, providing landline telephone service at remote mountainous areas is expensive, and the penetration of line-phones per capita is low compared to other Latin American countries, at 20%. Mobile telephony has the advantage of reaching all areas at a lower cost, and the total number of mobile lines is almost three times that of landlines, with an estimation of 57 million lines in 2006. The telecommunication industry is regulated by the government through Cofetel (Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones).
Usage of radio, television, and internet in Mexico is prevalent. Major players in the broadcasting industry are Televisa – the largest Spanish media company in the Spanish-speaking world – and TV Azteca. In 2006 there were approximately 1,410 radio broadcast stations, and 236 television stations (excluding repeaters), plus 906 complementary stations. In May 2007, the Mexican Internet Association (Asociación Mexicana de Internet, AMPICI) reported 22.7 million users; 78% of personal computer internet access is broadband access. There are approximately 7.6 million internet hosts in Mexico, ranking eight in the world.
The satellite system is domestic with 120 earth stations. There is also extensive microwave radio relay network and considerable use of fibre-optic and coaxial cable. Mexican satellites are operated by Satélites Mexicanos (Satmex), a private company, leader in Latin America and servicing both North and South America. It offers broadcast, telephone and telecommunication services to 37 countries in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina. Through business parterships Satmex provides high-speed connectivity to ISPs and Digital Broadcast Services. The system is currently composed of three main satellites: Solidaridad 2, Satmex 5 and Satmex 6.
Telephones - main lines in use
19.861 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular
57.016 million (2006)
general assessment: adequate telephone service for business and government, but the population is poorly served; mobile subscribers far outnumber fixed-line subscribers; domestic satellite system with 120 earth stations; extensive microwave radio relay network; considerable use of fibre-optic cable and coaxial cable
domestic: low telephone density with about 18 fixed lines per 100 persons; privatised in December 1990; despite the opening to competition in January 1997, Telmex remains dominant; legal challenges to Telmex's alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the mobile and fixed-line markets culminated in a World Trade Organisation ruling in 2004 against Mexico prompting some strengthening of the powers granted Mexico's telecom regulator
international: country code - 52; Columbus-2 fibre-optic submarine cable with access to the US, Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Spain, and Italy; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the MAYA-1 submarine cable system together provide access to Central America, parts of South America and the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 120 (32 Intelsat, 2 Solidaridad (giving Mexico improved access to South America, Central America, and much of the US as well as enhancing domestic communications), 1 Panamsat, numerous Inmarsat mobile earth stations); linked to Central American Microwave System of trunk connections (2005)
Radio broadcast stations
AM 850, FM 545, shortwave 15 (2003)
Television broadcast stations
236 (excluding repeaters) (2006)
Internet country code
7.629 million (2007)
22.7 million (2007)