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Peña Nieto plans billion-dollar giveaway to global telecom giants

Tribuno Del Pueblo  |  Issue: April | May 2015

Move brutally undercuts popular rights won in the Mexican Revolution

When Mexican President Peña Nieto came to office, he undertook to reform the country’s major industries, one of which was telecommunications (“telecom”). Telecom includes telephones, the internet and satellite communication systems. The basis of Peña Nieto’s changes was encouraging foreign capital into Mexico to develop the system. This meant breaking the monopoly of Carlos Slim, the second richest man in the world. His telecom company, Telmex, spun off Mexico’s mobile phone system, América Móvil and had introduced mobile phones.

In his “reform” of Mexico’s telecom system Peña Nieto proposed a bold new idea, which he claims will foster competition, thus lowering costs to phone users. The plan is to construct a $10 billion network as an independent “carrier of carriers.” This enterprise would provide the infrastructure to allow access to satellite and wireless communication. All companies providing such services would be funneled through one carrier of carriers.

The claim is that it would be available to any mobile-service provider at regulated and nondiscriminatory costs. At present operators practically have to beg Slim’s Telcel for access to its network. This hampers Mexico’s ability to move into communications of the New Millennium.

Huge global corporations have expressed interest in this carrier-of-carriers venture: Nokia  (Finland based), Alcatel-Lucent (France), Motorola Mobility (U.S.), and Huawei Technologies Co. (China), the largest telecom manufacturer in the world.

February 2015 was scheduled as the deadline for bids to build the new network, with the winner to be announced by August 2015, and the network to be deployed by 2018. However, the Wall Street Journal of Nov. 1-2, 2014, noted that, “There is no real experience of the economic impact of a shared wholesale mobile network, since no country in the world has built one so far.”

The winner of this bidding process may be a really huge winner, since the Mexican government has indicated it may donate the country’s entire 4-G network to that one company, amounting to a huge gift from the Mexican people to a foreign business. How donating the nation’s 4-G capacity to one company will promote competition is less than clear. This would amount to awarding a monopoly to use certain highly advance telecom technology, 4-G, to the new carriers–all in the name of fostering competition.

A  year ago the Tribuno del Pueblo explained that to carry out his intentions Pena Nieto would have to “erase the valiant history of Mexico’s national heroes” such as Lazaro Cardenas who nationalized the country’s oil industry in 1938. This process appears to be well underway, as national assets are now to be not only privatized but donated to foreign corporations—all in the name of modernizing the economy. In conjunction with the U.S. Peña Nieto, has erased the border so that capital can freely flow into and exploit the Mexican people.

We want the border erased for people, and the people of both the U.S. and Mexico need to control their resources.

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