After a three year legal battle, the First Chamber of Mexico's Supreme Court has agreed to permit a concession for the Indigenous-owned Telecomunicaciones Indígenas Comunitarias (TIC) use of a radio spectrum license. Otherwise, the small community-based communications organization would have had to buy a $50,000 commercial license. Global Voices explains (emphasis added):
This decision allows TIC to offer affordable cell phone services to indigenous communities in the country. The court case also set a legal precedent for local communities to operate their own telecommunications services for free under social use concession licenses — drawing a line between commercial and community providers.
TIC, the fourth-largest mobile operator in Mexico, is a non-profit organization made up of 16 indigenous communities from Oaxaca that began in 2013. In 2016, these same communities were granted the first indigenous social telecommunication concession to manage and operate their own cell phone networks. At the end of 2019, they received a second concession for the 10 GHz band, which will be used to change their current 2G network to 4G. These were the first steps for indigenous communities to take charge of their own media.
It's a positive story for indigenous rights, and community telecoms.
Indigenous-led telecommunications organization wins historic legal battle in Mexico [Jacobo Nájera / Global Voices]