Elections in Mexico and their impact on telecommunications

Elections in Mexico and their impact on telecommunications

On 2 June, Mexico’s presidential and legislative elections will take place, as well as those of the authorities of some states and municipalities. The presidential election stands out, with contrasting visions of the country between the two leading candidates: Claudia Sheinbaum, from the coalition of the ruling party (Sigamos Haciendo Historia), and Xochitl Galvez, from a coalition of opposition parties (Fuerza y Corazón por México).

Sheinbaum proposes extending the project started by current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has sought to concentrate power within the presidential figure. As the name of the coalition indicates, it is a project built on continuity and improving the policies of the existing government. This includes strengthening state companies and relying on the implementation of large projects that take advantage of the capacity of the armed forces. A similar approach has been applied in its public security strategy (Abrazos, no balazos).

In contrast, Galvez proposes a presidency that guarantees the rule of law, with an emphasis on respecting the division of powers, autonomous constitutional bodies, and specialised agencies. She would modify the current security strategy to include civilian commands, maintain the social programmes established by President López Obrador, and promote the economic development of the country through greater participation from private initiatives and seeking to take advantage of technology.

These competing visions of Mexico’s future also apply to the telecommunications sector, as described below.

Claudia Sheinbaum’s proposal

Sheinbaum has made 100 government commitments, claiming that she would promote the constitutional reforms proposed by President López Obrador. This would involve eliminating various autonomous constitutional bodies, including the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT), the Federal Competition Commission (Cofece), and the National Institute of Access to Information (INAI). However, Sheinbaum has committed to respecting the autonomy of the Banco de México. It should be noted that this reform would require a favourable vote of two-thirds in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

Likewise, Sheinbaum will promote the continuity of the CFE Internet para todos (Internet for all) programme. This includes the Red Compartida (Wholesale Open Access Network), the capabilities of which the government used to remove Altán Redes from the commercial bankruptcy it entered into in 2021. She also proposes implementing a new geostationary satellite to maintain one of Mexico’s orbital positions, with the aim of using it to offer internet services. Its commitments include taking advantage of technology for administrative simplification; however, part of this reform includes eliminating public consultations and the regulatory impact analysis for decrees published by future presidents.

Sheinbaum commits to propose a National Relocation and Industrialisation Strategy to promote nearshoring and greater automation in customs. Another project that stands out in terms of its commitments is the digitalisation of the logistics process for the supply of medicines.

It should be noted that, based on her experience in the Government of Mexico City, Sheinbaum would propose a Digital Agenda focused on the government to promote a software factory, the installation of Wi-Fi sites, citizen attention for non-emergency cases, and the technological management of government affairs by the population in a technological management environment that guarantees cybersecurity.

Xochitl Galvez’s proposal

Galvez has presented a set of proposals with the general characteristics mentioned above. In terms of telecommunications, there are 12 points identified as México Digital, some of which I will comment on below.

Galvez proposes establishing telecommunications as a strategic sector, seeking to achieve universal connectivity that is of good quality at an affordable price. In this sense, she proposes publishing the Universal Digital Inclusion Policy in October 2024, including specific goals and actions for its execution throughout the administration. The objective is to incorporate digital tools for health, education, and security, promote financial inclusion, increase the productivity of MSMEs and reliable digital government, attract nearshoring investments, and take advantage of cloud economies and transparency to combat corruption, with a focus on public tenders.

In contrast to the administration of President López Obrador, which eliminated the Underministry of Communications to combine its functions with the Underministry of Transportation, Galvez proposes creating a Ministry of Digital Transformation to design and implement policies that help achieve universal digital inclusion. Likewise, the autonomy and powers of the IFT will be respected.

Galvez proposes creating an Agency of National Cybersecurity to implement a comprehensive cybersecurity, cyber defence, and cyber-resilience policy. This would include the applicable legislation, focusing on risk management and respect for human rights.

Likewise, Galvez proposes reviewing the allocation and charging policy for the use of spectrum so that it does not constitute a barrier to the deployment of networks. Furthermore, she proposes fostering digital rights and promoting an integrated strategy for the ethical and responsible use of cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence, within the framework of human rights.

Elections on 2 June

Telecommunications is an essential sector for the development of the Information Society, which is why its importance grows every day. This is highlighted by its presence within the platforms of the presidential candidates. These projects set the tone for the actions projected for the Legislative Branch, the members of which will be determined in the same electoral process.

The debate surrounding these proposals also highlights the need for other essential infrastructures to aid Mexico’s development. This includes strengthening the energy and water sectors to take advantage of the opportunities that have been created through regional instruments, such as the Mexico-United States-Canada Treaty (USMCA) and participation in international forums.

Comment from our Head of LATAM

The Mexican elections will likely have an immediate impact on regional tech policy decisions, as Mexico has a well-established position as a leader on digital matters in Latin America. While current conversations have challenged the digital ecosystem, including the role of the IFT and the competition authorities, the country’s future involves a clear digital agenda to boost the resurgence of one of Latin America’s most important markets, regardless of who becomes president. – Geusseppe Gonzalez

At Access Partnership, we recognise the change that is coming and are actively engaged in these discussions. For more information on what the future will mean for your business, please contact Fernando Borjon at [email protected] or Geusseppe Gonzalez at [email protected].

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