Hit hard by the global recession, Mexico’s ICT industry is beginning to show surprising resilience which is not going unnoticed by major telecom players and enterprise IT suppliers from the United States. While countries in the BRIC category gain attention because of their vast populations and staggering requirements for scaling up, Mexico is also setting its own standards for exploiting the benefits of first-world communications.
About a quarter of Mexican citizens, or 26 million people, are regular Internet users. Broadband penetration continues to show steady progress, reaching about 6% of the population in recent surveys. PC affordability continues to improve as suppliers find more creative ways to overcome the low income levels of much of the population.
The IT services market was on a torrid pace before the global recession. The market grew by about 14% in 2008, but it is expected to slow to around 10% this year. Foreign multinationals are key drivers behind investment, in large part because of BPO and outsourcing activities.
Unisys is investing over $50 million over the next few years to build a software development center.
IBM has also established a Global Archive Solutions Center, costing over $10 million. Likely seeing the upside for IT and network services, AT&T Business Solutions announced at an event this week in Mexico City a new set of advanced application services, built off its increasingly pervasive IP networks. The key application AT&T is pitching is Unified Communications, which is positioned to improve communications efficiency and collaboration.
AT&T is reselling Cisco’s Telepresence solution in Mexico, enabling high-quality, virtual “in person” meetings. Other portions of the AT&T suite include “AT&T Connect” which unified audio conferencing, web conferencing and video conferencing in to a single, company-wide collaboration tool and managed IP telephony which essentially is a professional services support option.
“As businesses are required to maintain technical expertise and best-in-class technology to deliver on user expectations, they are increasingly moving into a service model to extend their in-house resources with third party resources and expertise,” said Bennett Ruiz, AT&T’s executive director, Global Signature Marketing.
Verizon Business has a solid one-year head start on providing businesses with advanced IP services. The services arm of Verizon was granted a special “Value Added” authorization by domestic regulator COFETEL last year, basically freeing the provider to deliver advanced services directly to customers, instead of relying on partners as AT&T is doing. The operation, now known as Verizon Business Mexico, offers private IP and managed network services, among other features.