Small Cellphone Network Shows The Little Guy Can Make a Go of it in Mexico!

Published on: Aug 27 2013 by Thomas Lloyd

Mexico small business and cellphonesMexico always comes through as being a places that has more space for the small-timer to get ahead. When I talk to Americans and Canadians, it seems to be an ever-growing frustration that you either have to be working for the big-shots, already well-established in your own business, or have a few million dollars to throw around if you want to get ahead.


These same people are starting to look to Mexico simply because they find the room here to start with something small and grow it into a full and comfortable living.


Here’s another story which illustrates that side of Mexico. It’s not about expats opening a business, but it’s related in that it shows how a small village can take the initiative to set up their own affordable cellphone service:


Left out by telecom firms like the one owned by billionaire Carlos Slim, a remote Mexican mountain village now runs its own cellphone network to communicate with the outside world.


Tucked away in a lush forest in the southern state of Oaxaca, the indigenous village of Villa Talea de Castro, population 2,500, was not seen as a profitable market for companies such as Mr Slim’s América Móvil.


So the village, under an initiative launched by indigenous groups, civil organisations and universities, put up a perch-like antenna on a rooftop, installed radio and computer equipment, and created its own micro provider called Red Celular de Talea (RCT).


Now, restaurant manager Ramiro Perez can call his children and receive food orders on his cellphone at a cheap price in this village dotted by small homes painted in pink and yellow.


The local service, started in 2013, costs 15 pesos ($1.20) a month — 13 times cheaper than a big company’s basic plan in Mexico City — while calls to the US, where many of the indigenous Zapoteco resident have migrated, cost a few pennies per minute.


(Read the whole article here.)


Yes, this is temporary for now, and sort of an experiment; but the point is that it’s happening – it actually can happen!


Now, I sure wouldn’t say that Mexico is anti-corporate, like Venezuela or Bolivia. On the contrary, folks like Mr. Slim and multinationals like Walmart seem to be doing quite well here. As I pointed out a couple of days ago, more and more companies of the sort are investing here every year.


Yet, at the same time that Mexico is very conducive to big business, it’s also easier to start a successful small business and make a living off it. People are coming to the same conclusion more and more; you can either sit around and wonder what’s going wrong up north; or you can head down to Mexico.


-by Thomas Lloyd


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