U.S. Markets closed

Mexico to launch wholesale telecoms network tender on Friday

By Christine Murray

MEXICO CITY, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Mexico will on Friday launch a long-delayed tender for one of the largest infrastructure projects under President Enrique Pena Nieto, a wholesale telecoms network that will cover most of the country.

The project, which was meant to be up and running by 2014, is part of a sweeping telecoms reform aimed at curbing the dominance of Carlos Slim's America Movil and improving Mexicos low levels of cell phone penetration and network coverage.

It offers the winner cheap, high quality spectrum in the 700MHz band to build a mobile network that operators and virtual network operators can rent. However, the winner will not be able to sublet spectrum and the network will have to cover a minimum of 85 percent of the population, the government said on Thursday.

Mexicos telecoms minister told Reuters last year it expected a capital investment of around $7 billion in the project.

(Reporting by Christine Murray; Editing by Simon Gardner)