"Data traffic is predicted to increase from an average use of 8GB up to 29.5 GB per smartphone per year between 2021 and 2026"

Ana Claudina García Allende, Senior Director of Legal and Public Affairs at American Tower Mexico, commented about the main trends in the telecommunications sector, the lessons learned from the pandemic and the main skills an in-house lawyer should have today.

Posted Monday, December 20th 2021
"Data traffic is predicted to increase from an average use of 8GB up to 29.5 GB per smartphone per year between 2021 and 2026"

Ana Claudina García Allende

Leaders League: What have been the main developments in the Mexican market in the last year?

Ana Claudina García Allende: Network traffic has been growing over the last decade, a trend related to the boom of smartphones, streaming platforms and other digital services. This trend, as well as all things digital  took on increased importance in the wake of Covid-19. According to the Fourth Survey 2020, of users of telecommunications services, during the pandemic  digital payments through QR (CoDi), implemented by the Bank of Mexico increased. This technology was also used to track possible suspicious cases of Covid-19.

Data from Teleography revealed that international bandwidth in Latin America and the Caribbean grew by 32% in 2020, five percentage points more than expected. Also, confinement limited mobility, leading to more telecommuting. This prompted a change in Mexican legislation to make telework, tele-education and the use of video applications official. As a result, much of the internet consumption shifted from mobile to fixed networks.  It is possible to confirm this information with data from the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), agency of regulation of telecommunications in Mexico, which points out that in 2020, the use of video calls increased by 20.6% compared to 2019; whileuse of social networks barely increased by 1.5%.

However, despite the possible upcoming reopening of social activities, we must consider that many of the digital habits adopted in the pandemic are here to stay. Thus, the emergence of new technologies such as 5G will bring a multiplication of connections to support things like the Internet of Things (IoT). According to GSMA association, 1.3 billion IoT connections are expected by 2025. Also, data traffic per mobile device is predicted to increase, in the region, from an average use of 8GB up to 29.5 GB per smartphone per year between 2021 and 2026.

Likewise, the Mexican government aims to promote the development of 5G. For this reason, for the first time in the country, the IFT is preparing a bidding process for different bands for the same package, which is set to begin in early 2022.

We know that it is important that technological progress is accompanied by clear and flexible regulation that allows the deployment of new telecommunications infrastructure for the expansion of fixed and mobile networks, without setbacks.

What will be the next trends in the sector, do you think?

Undoubtedly, wi-fi and 5G will play complementary roles in meeting the different demands and specifications of connectivity, in an effort to satisfy the requirements of the New Normal. Simultaneously, capacity and density will be emphasized, as well as coverage and mobility, allowing for countless applications.

The use of licensed spectrum managed by operators will promote complementary action of the unlicensed spectrum, managed by each enterprise or household. In both cases, significant infrastructure deployments will be required to support them.

We know that 5G will be a fast-adopting technology, so we need to familiarize ourselves with it quickly. On the other hand, we must not neglect cybersecurity. According to the Global Cybersecurity Predictions 2022 report, by next year cybercriminals will find new opportunities to attack users and companies.

What lessons did the Covid-19 pandemic teach you?

A very important lesson is that social and economic issues are not separate. Therefore, we have learned that technology can greatly facilitate personal and business activities, making them more effective and efficient. Moreover, we must also value our loved ones and strive for individual and social well-being. We know that, in order to face all types of  adversity, human factors must be taken into account before anything else. On the other hand, it is also necessary to operate in the digital world to achieve true economic development.

What kind of technological innovations for the legal area have you implemented internally?

For some time now, we have been constantly implementing technological tools that allow us to be more efficient in our work. Therefore, projects focused on data analysis have been key to making the best decisions in the last two years. We have also implemented a document-management system that helps us better monitor  and record of all legal documents and, following the Covid-19 pandemic, we implemented electronic signatures. In the coming months, we will continue working to adopt new technologies that will allow us to strengthen our security and results.

What do you think are the main skills required by an in-house lawyer today?

Of course, it is necessary that law professionals are able to manage Information Technology and Communications (ICT) tools, to keep up with the new reality in which we will work, as well as to be well informed about current events that could have an impact on the area. Likewise, it is essential that they also develop human skills such as negotiation, conflict resolution, effective communication, sense of service, stress management, time management, resilience and prudence, among others. There will always be something more to learn and improve.