Mexico - Country Commercial Guide
Internet and IT Services

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-02

Mexico is a large and developing middle-income market, making information and communication technology (ICT) products and services a best prospect industry sector.

Overview

Internet and IT Services

Increased connectivity has spurred the growth of Mexico’s digital economy in recent years. According to the Mexican Internet Association, the number of Internet users in Mexico grew by 10.2 percent in 2020. In June 2021 the country had 84.1 million Internet users, representing 72 percent of the population over the age of six. Ninety-six percent of Mexico’s Internet users connect through a smart phone and there are currently 88.2 million active smart phone users in the country. According to industry analysts, Mexico is among the three most competitive mobile app markets in the Americas, along with Brazil and the United States, in terms users and frequency of use. Cloud storage is expected to grow by 30 percent in 2021, well above the expected 12 percent growth of the ICT industry. Spending on business software, data centers, Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), CRM and cybersecurity solutions is also expected to grow in 2021. Given that Mexico experienced a number of cyberattacks in recent years, experts predict continued opportunities for cybersecurity solutions providers, particularly those offering solutions to the financial services market.

Mexico is positioning itself as a high-quality software developer to the manufacturing, aerospace, and finance industries. There are 38 IT clusters throughout the country offering software development, call center, high-tech manufacture, and engineering services. Mexico is following the global trend towards a service-centric IT industry, where most technologies are offered under a service contract or lease, leading to opportunities in Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platforms as a Service (PaaS).

The Mexican Government is in the process of defining Internet-related policies and regulations on issues such as cybersecurity, server localization, and data privacy. The López Obrador Administration’s main priority is providing universal connectivity through its Internet para Todos program, which aims to establish Internet in rural and underserved communities, particularly in public areas. The program is run by CFE-Telecomunicaciones e Internet para Todos, a subsidiary of the Federal Electricity Commission (Comisión Federal de Electricidad or CFE), which was established in 2019. The Internet Para Todos project is “technology-neutral” and employs wireless broadband, fiber optic lines, satellites, and mixed solutions, representing opportunities for U.S. companies.

The López Obrador Administration’s austerity measures have impacted public spending on technology, with the federal budget allocated to ICT declining by 75 percent in 2019 over the previous year. State budgets decreased by nine percent in 2021. The National Digital Strategy Office, housed in the Office of the Presidency, coordinates all federal public procurement of IT products and services.

Mexico’s 2020 federal budget imposed a value added tax (VAT) withholding on non-resident digital service providers in Mexico and in 2021 added an enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance. All non-resident digital service providers operating in Mexico are required to obtain a tax ID number, register with the Tax Administrative Service (Servico de Administración Tributaria or SAT), and charge and collect VAT from customers. For more information visit SAT’s webite (www.sat.gob.mx/residentes-en-el-extranjero).

The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) is expected to increase opportunities for U.S. ICT firms. The USMCA´s digital trade chapter contains the strongest commitments of any international agreement, providing a firm foundation for the expansion of trade and investment in innovative products and services and committing all three countries to strengthening cybersecurity collaboration.

Telecommunications Equipment

For the past decade, the Mexican telecommunications market has consistently outpaced GDP growth, driven in large part by mobile telephony, broadband, and broadcasting. In 2020, Mexico had over 126 million active wireless lines, outnumbering the population for the first time, with 80 percent of those lines concentrated in urban zones. América Móvil dominates the market with a 63 percent share in terms of number of lines compared to Telefónica’s 21 percent and AT&T’s 15 percent. Over 21 million households in Mexico have an Internet connection.

According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in 2020 Mexico had 20.4 million fixed broadband subscriptions or 59 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, representing a 7.4 percent increase over 2019. The technologies employed for connectivity are coaxial cable at 39.5 percent, DSL at 32 percent, and fiber optic at 7 percent. Telmex is the dominant player in fixed broadband with a 50 percent market share in terms of subscriptions compared to Televisa at 24 percent, Megacable at 16 percent, and Total Play at almost 8 percent. 

In 2020 Mexico became the largest export destination for U.S. telecommunications equipment (HS 8517), reaching USD 2.74 billion, up from USD 2 billion in 2018. Mexico primarily imports U.S. cellular telephones, telecommunication equipment, and transmission and reception apparatus. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Mexican telecommunications market, with revenue generated by mobile operators decreasing by 4.5 percent in 2020 from 2019 figures (Competitive Intelligence Unit). Mobile device sales in Mexico were 11 percent lower in 2020 than the previous year.

In 2016, the Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes or SCT) awarded the National Shared Wholesale Network (NSWN), known as Red Compartida to Grupo Altan. The Red Compartida is a wholesale-only carrier, deploying infrastructure throughout the country and selling wholesale services to retail commercial carriers and Mexican Government agencies. Roll out of the network will continue until reaching 92 percent coverage.

In January 2021, the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones or IFT) published a spectrum tender to provide telephony and internet service to southeast states where connectivity is limited. The results of this competition are expected to be published late 2021. In 2019 IFT published a plan to regulate 5G development and has allocated the 600 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands for this technology. Industry experts predict that Mexico is two to three years away from an operational 5G telecommunications network. IFT will likely auction 5G spectrum in late 2021. Telcel and AT&T are expected to lead 5G deployment in Mexico.

Opportunities for television broadcasting equipment have grown since the Mexican government auctioned two new national television networks, although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted broadcast revenues, particularly in Mexico’s most established broadcasters. Televisa reported an 8 percent decrease in sales and 17 percent decrease in the value of its stock market shares, while TV Azteca´s sales dropped by 31 percent, and its stocks price fell by 50 percent.

Mexico Internet and IT Service Market indicators
(Figures in millions)

 

2018

2019

2020

2021 (Estimated)

Fixed lines

20

22

20.8

21.6

Mobile lines

118.2

121.1

122

126

Internet users

74.3

80.6

89

92

Source: INEGI and IFT

Mexico IT Market Overview
(Figures in USD billions)

 

2018

2019

2020

2021 (Estimated)

IT Market Value

12.1

11.8

11.6

13.3

Computer Hardware Sales

4.4

4.3

4.2

4.6

Software Sales

1.3

1.3

1.4

1.8

Services Sales

6.3

6.1

5.9

6.8

Source: BMI Research

Leading Sub-Sectors

As in the United States, the ICT sector is extraordinarily dynamic and diverse. We see opportunities for U.S. companies in the following sub-sectors:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Data center infrastructure
  • Integration services
  • Cloud computing and Cloud security services
  • Leased infrastructure (NOCs, SOCs, CERTS)
  • VPN access
  • Web conferencing services
  • Collaboration tools
  • Internet of things
  • Cloud analytics
  • Online payment solutions
  • Business intelligence software

Opportunities

Carriers are increasing their spectrum capacity and LTE (4G) networks will continue expanding. Network and infrastructure projects are carried out by telecom original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) acting as integrators (including Nokia Network, NEC, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, and Juniper Networks). U.S. companies looking to enter the market can reach out to them directly or partner with smaller local distributors who are vendors for the OEM integrators. Nokia and Huawei are the main equipment providers for the Red Compartida, the National Shared Wholesale Network. Altán Redes, the public–private partnership that manages the project, has recently announced a four-year extension to fulfil its coverage goal of 92 percent of Mexico by 2028. Some opportunities may exist for U.S. companies to provide equipment and IT solutions to the network.

The main opportunities for IT products and services are in sectors intensifying the use of IT and solutions that support operations, teleworking and cost reduction for manufacturing, retail, and financial services. Opportunities include cloud computing solutions, cybersecurity, mobile applications, equipment maintenance, services, data centers, and energy-efficiency solutions (hardware, software, and services).

Resources

  • Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT)
  • Mexican Internet Association
  • National Chamber of the Electronics, Telecommunications, and IT Industry (CANIETI)
  • IT Industry Association (AMITI)
  • National Chamber of Cable Television (CANITEC)
  • Mexican Online Sales Association

Events

  • Expo Data Center, Date TBD, Mexico CityEvents
  • InfoSecurity Mexico, Centro CitiBanamex, Mexico City

Contacts

For more information on Internet, IT services, and telecommunications market in Mexico, please contact:

Adriana Carrillo

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel.: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5215

Adriana.Carrillo@trade.gov