Regulatory licences and obligations
Key questions


Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the ways in which people communicate have changed dramatically. Over the past year, mandatory remote work has contributed to the positioning of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and videoconference services as an attractive alternative to traditional telephone services globally.

Mexico is no exception. According to various sources (including think tanks and internet service providers), data traffic in Mexico has increased by 40%–45% since the start of the pandemic, as most companies sent employees to work from home. VoIP has become increasingly popular, including pure VoIP systems and solutions providing interconnection to the public switched telephone network, for both inbound and outbound calling.

Regulatory licences and obligations

As different VoIP solutions involve different services, some may be subject to certain regulatory licences and obligations, which must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Mexico's telecoms and broadcasting watchdog, the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT), favours innovation and tends to impose regulations only in limited cases. Nevertheless, providing regulated telecoms services without the required licences may result in substantial fines (up to 10% of the company's aggregated annual revenues in Mexico) and even the loss of all property used for the provision of the relevant services.

To prevent this, companies that are active in or intend to enter the Mexican VoIP market should carefully analyse whether the specific services require a licence from the IFT and, if so, which type would be best suited for their business model and whether it consists of a concession title or an authorisation to act as a reseller. Although the processes to obtain both types of licence are relatively straightforward, each serves a different purpose and imposes different obligations on companies.

Key questions

Deciding whether certain VoIP services require a licence, as well as determining the best business strategy to set up such services, will depend on the business model and the specific services to be provided. For example, the following questions may be considered:

  • Will all or part of the VoIP functionalities fall under regulated telecoms services, or will they be considered excluded over-the-top services?
  • Are the regulated services intended to be provided to customers, or will they serve only internal technical requirements?
  • Is a non-full-function joint venture or collaboration with a licence holder a better alternative?
  • Does the company intend to deploy its own network or will it provide services through capacity and services acquired from an established service provider?
  • Does the company have a global agreement with a telecoms provider working with local partners or will it enter into a local agreement with a local provider?
  • Are there specific billing considerations and, if so, how flexible are they?
  • Are there any law enforcement collaboration implications that must be considered?
  • What data will be stored and where is it expected to be stored?

Companies must respond to these main questions correctly in order to assess the regulatory implications of providing VoIP services in Mexico and determine the best strategy to do so.

For further information on this topic please contact Luis Gerardo García, Jorge Kargl or Jessica González at Creel, García-Cuellar, Aiza y Enriquez, SC by telephone (+52 55 4748 0600 ) or email ([email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The Creel, García-Cuellar, Aiza y Enriquez, SC website can be accessed at