Mexico newcomer AT&T is wasting no time in challenging Telcel

It’s only been a year since AT&T officially entered Mexico through its acquisitions of Iusacell and Nextel, but it’s making its presence felt. In OpenSignal’s first State of Mobile Networks report for Mexico, we took a close look at the performance of Mexico’s networks in this new competitive environment. While Telcel still dominates the Mexican mobile market in may ways (not the least of which is its 70% share of all subscribers), we found a lot of evidence of AT&T building out a robust network.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mike Mozart

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mike Mozart

AT&T only launched its first LTE network in Mexico in October, but it already had 44 million people covered by its 4G umbrella at the end of 2015. In our measurements – which covered the December to February timeframe – AT&T was already matching Telcel and Movistar in LTE download speeds with an average of 10 Mbps. AT&T also in came just behind Telcel in our LTE availability measurements. Telcel 4G customers were able to see an LTE signal 65% of the time compared to 62% for AT&T customers. Finally, AT&T also landed OpenSignal’s prize for fastest overall speed — which measures average performance across all of an operator’s networks — thanks to Iusacell’s earlier investment in powerful HSPA+ systems.

The LTE race in Mexico is still ongoing, and all three operators have far to go before they have truly nationwide 4G coverage or speeds that meet the global average. But AT&T may have picked the perfect time to strike. Telcel is facing stricter regulation because of owner América Móvil’s sheer size and influence over the local telecommunications market. While AT&T is looking to grow its relatively small subscriber base, Telcel is seeking ways to shrink in order to shake the regulators from its back.

You can read the full report on OpenSignal’s website.

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