Starlink, led by Elon Musk, has secured a contract worth 1.56 billion pesos ($89.80 million) with the Mexican government to offer internet and phone services in remote areas of the country. The partnership aims to enhance connectivity for 10,000 individual users and bolster Mexico’s overall cybersecurity capabilities.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO, along with Carlos Emiliano Calderon, the country’s digital strategy coordinator, announced the collaboration during a press conference. AMLO expressed that the contract will enable Mexico to achieve nearly complete internet coverage nationwide, ensuring connectivity for 94% of the population. The deal will allow users throughout the country to access Starlink’s satellite internet services, as well as a forthcoming direct-to-cell service for calls and text messages.
The agreement is made possible through Telecomunicaciones e Internet para Todos (TEIT), a project initiated by Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission. TEIT initially partnered with SES, a rival company of Starlink, to expand global connectivity through satellite technology. In September, TEIT and SES introduced data services to 400 remote communities in Mexico using the high-throughput SES-17 Ka-band satellite.
TEIT intends to extend 4G and 5G connections to approximately 57 million residents of Mexico by collaborating with numerous connectivity partners, including Apco Networks, Axess, GSAT, Next Telekom, Tangerine Electronics, Televera Red, Viasat, and Hispasat, until 2026.
Despite the substantial cost of the contract, Calderon stated that Starlink’s offer was the most affordable among available bids. The partnership will be financed partly through slight toll increases on federally-owned roads, except for Acapulco, which will be exempt due to the financial and infrastructural challenges resulting from Hurricane Otis in October.
The Mexico Institute, a non-governmental organization focused on enhancing collaboration between Mexico and the United States, views the agreement with Starlink as beneficial. Lila Abed, the institute’s deputy director, emphasized the importance of Mexico’s cybersecurity capabilities to strengthen commercial ties with the United States and ensure the country’s ability to respond to and recover from cyber threats and attacks.