By Garrett C. Hill, CEO, X2nSat, Inc.
Mexican drumbeats pulsated through my chest. Mesmerized by the costumes and painted faces of the writhing street dancers while I, James Bond, navigated through the spectacular sounds, sights and rhythms of a Día de los Muertos parade in downtown Mexico City. OK, I wasn’t jumping off of buildings while beautiful women fell at my feet or thwarting bad guys trying to rule the world, but I was walking those same Mexico City streets showcased in the latest James Bond film just a couple of weeks ago.
I don’t really have some crazy 007 hero complex; I happened to be in Mexico City to learn about the possibilities for partnership and the impact the satellite communications industry has had on our neighbor to the south – that often misinterpreted, misunderstood and mystical country Mexico. That incredible opening sequence of Bond, James Bond’s, Spectre just happened to match my mood.
Snagging an Uber ride from my hotel to dinner at the hip hot spot Alboa, and watching the urban night life pass me by, I could’ve been in any industrialized city in the world. Mexico is very modern, and very chic.
Since my trip, I’ve been thinking about Mexico quite a bit. What is it about this country that makes it somewhat invisible to the average American? Based on anecdotal evidence (meaning conversations with my friends and acquaintances), my perception is that most norteamericanos don’t think or know very much about Mexico. What they think they know is that it’s poor and that it’s dangerous. Neither of which are really true, not in the grand sense.
How much do you know about this country that is three times the size of Texas? Can you tell me the population of Mexico City? Do you know the ethnic makeup of most of its citizens? How much do you know about the brilliant Aztec civilization that once had its seat of power in modern-day Mexico City? I’ll let you Google it rather than ramble on with a bunch of trivia answers here. But I will tell you the answers are impressive.
So why do I care? Global citizenry aspirations and the desire to be aware of the world around me aside, I’m very interested in Mexico – Mexico City, specifically – as a businessman. And I’m also interested as the owner of a satellite communications company. Mexico is often underestimated, I think. The truth is that Mexico is on the rise as an increasingly important economic global force.
According to The Economist, “Mexico is already the world’s biggest exporter of flat-screen televisions, BlackBerrys and fridge-freezers, and is climbing up the rankings in cars, aerospace and more. On present trends, by 2018 America will import more from Mexico than from any other country. ‘Made in China’ is giving way to ‘Hecho en México’.”
Telecommunications in Mexico is dominated by the aptly named Telmex and – until EutelSat purchased it in 2014 – Satmex. Telmex is the more traditional telecommunications operator – it’s the dominant fixed-line phone carrier in Mexico and has branched out into offering Internet access, data, and hosting.
EutelSat’s purchase of Satmex – aka Satelites Mexicanos – was a big deal ($800 million+ in dollars), and means they now have a huge presence in Latin America, “alongside rivals Intelsat, SES, Telesat and others,” according to SpaceNews.
Mexsat launched its first satellite in decades into orbit in 2012. Mexico’s leaders, including then-President Calderon, were interested in putting Mexico at the forefront of technology in order to meet the demands of the country’s growing telecommunications needs, stating it was a goal to ensure telecommunications access to all Mexican citizens from the largest cities to the smallest, most remote villages. With a population of more than 125 million (compared to the approximately 320 million U.S. population), that’s a lot of eyeballs and fingers on keyboards.
There’s no big reveal here regarding any formal alliances between X2nSat and Mexican telco, but we are definitely interested in our neighbors for reasons I hope I’ve made obvious.
I’m not really a martini man, but if I were, of course mine would be shaken, not stirred. That’s because shaking things up isn’t a bad thing, and we’re always working on new ideas here at X2nSat, where we pride ourselves on long-term planning coupled with a unique vision unfettered by stuffy paradigms.
There may just be another visit to Estados Unidos Mexicanos in X2nSat’s future.