Mexico: AM to FM Conversion - September 15,2008 - Official Gazette (Proposal)

This is a machine translated document from Mexico's Official Gazette (equivalent to the U.S. Federal Register).   This document from September 15, 2008 proposes the opportunity for AM broadcasters in Mexico to discontinue service on AM and convert to FM.  The number of FM stations in Mexico are far fewer than in the United States and therefore it is possible to change many AM stations to an FM frequency.  A 2018 review of many of the stations that were granted FM facilities were able to get Class B1 facilities (maximum 25 kW at 100m HAAT).  

The original Spanish version can be found at the following URL:


LUIS TELLEZ KUENZLER, Secretary of Communications and Transportation, based on articles 25, 27, 28 and 134 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States; 3 fraction I, 4, 6 fraction I, 7 fraction I, 8, 13 and 16 of the General Law of National Assets; 36 fractions I, III and XXVI, of the Organic Law of the Federal Public Administration; 1 o. , 2 o. , 3 o. , 4 o. , 5 o. , 7-A fraction I and 8 o. of the Federal Radio and Television Law ; 1, 2, 3 fraction XV, 4, 5, 7 fraction I and 23 fraction III of the Federal Telecommunications Law; 1, 3, 4 of the Federal Law of Administrative Procedure; 1 o. , 3 o. , 4 o. , 5 o. sections I, XI and XVIII of the Internal Regulations of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation, as well as the provisions of the " Agreement by which obligations are established for radio and television concessionaires and permit holders related to digital technologies for broadcasting " , published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on October 3, 2000, the " Agreement by which the Radio Concession Conditions are Homologated " published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on December 28, 2004, and


That Article 25 of the Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico, states that the State is responsible for the national development to ensure that it is comprehensive and sustainable, that it strengthens the Sovereignty of the Nation and its democratic regime and that, by promoting of economic growth and employment and a fairer distribution of income and wealth, allow the full exercise of freedom and dignity of individuals, groups and social classes, whose security protects the Constitution;

That in accordance with the provisions of article 27 of our Magna Carta, the Nation corresponds to the direct domain of the space located on the national territory, in the extension and terms established by international law ;

That Article 28 of the Constitution establishes that the State, subject to the laws, may, in the case of general interest, concession the provision of public services or the exploitation, use and exploitation of property belonging to the Federation, except for the exceptions that they prevent ;

That according to the provisions of section I of article 3 of the General Law of National Assets, the space located on national territory is a national asset . In effect, the radioelectric spectrum and the frequency bands that are part of it, are a good of the public domain of the Nation, so its use, exploitation and exploitation entails, among others, the right of the State to receive an economic consideration for the granting of the respective concession. The above, was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation in the Action of Unconstitutionality 26/2006, by ruling that the radio spectrum is a public property, so its use, exploitation and exploitation should be granted subject to the principles set forth in Article 134 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States , which provides that the State must ensure the best conditions for the sale, lease and acquisition of property , protecting as a fundamental value the management of economic resources Federation, which, although in principle public revenues or financial means allocated via budget for public works contracts and services, so is covering the disposal of all types of goods, it being understood within é hese to the bands of frequencies of the radioelectric spectrum, which are not sold, but their use, exploitation and exploitation are granted temporarily. Derived from the above, it is concluded that radio spectrum, being a good that is given in concession in exchange for financial consideration, it should be regarded as an economic resource to which apply the principles contained in the aforementioned constitutional provision with regarding the issue of disposals;

That Article 7 of the Federal Telecommunications Law (hereinafter the LFT), establishes that this legal system has as objectives to promote the efficient development of telecommunications;

exercise the rectoría of the State in the matter to guarantee the national sovereignty; promote healthy competition between different telecommunication service providers, so that they can be provided with better prices, diversity and quality for the benefit of users, and promote adequate social coverage;

That pursuant to the provisions of the aforementioned article 7, section I of the LFT, it corresponds to the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (hereinafter the Secretariat) to plan, formulate and conduct the policies and programs, as well as to regulate the development of telecommunications, based on the National Development Plan and the corresponding sectoral programs;

That Article 3 section XV of the LFT establishes that the broadcasting service is a telecommunications service ;

That Article 23 section III of the LFT establishes the possibility for the Secretariat to change a frequency for the introduction of new technologies and that for these purposes, the Secretariat may grant directly to the concessionaire new frequency bands through which the services may be offered. originally borrowed;

That Article 7-A section I of the Federal Radio and Television Law (hereinafter the LFRTV) establishes that in the absence of an express provision in said Law, in its Regulations or in International Treaties, the LFT shall apply;

That according to what is established in Article 13 of the LFRTV commercial stations require a concession, while official, cultural, experimental stations, radio schools or those established by public entities and agencies for the fulfillment of their purposes and services , they only require permission;

That in Mexico there are 1580 radio stations, of which 854 operate in the Modulated Amplitude (AM) band and 726 in the Frequency Modulated (FM) band;

That to date, permits have been granted to operate 94 AM stations and 253 FM stations, while, under the concession regime for commercial use, there are 760 AM and 473 FM stations;

Given the technical characteristics of the AM signals:

(a) it is possible to achieve broad coverage of the territory, with few limitations due to the orography of the territory, which allows high power stations to reach communities far from the urban centers;   

(b) it is necessary to limit the power at night for most stations; currently it is necessary that for its night operation, 701 stations decrease their power and 96 completely suspend their operation;   

(c) the service may be affected by electromagnetic interference, as a result of luminaires or electrical conduction systems, and that this problem occurs more in urban areas.   

That the number of commercial FM stations has remained constant for more than 14 years;

That the radio is an activity of public interest, therefore the State must protect and monitor it for the proper fulfillment of its social function;

That communication through radio has the social function of contributing to the strengthening of national integration and the improvement of forms of human coexistence, and that it is necessary that these services are provided in the best technological conditions for the benefit of the population;

That the 2007-2012 National Development Plan establishes that scientific development, adoption and technological innovation constitute one of the main driving forces of economic growth and the material well - being of modern societies;

That for the achievement of the objective indicated in the preceding paragraph, various strategies are proposed, among which, the use and development of new technologies as well as the development of mechanisms and the necessary conditions in order to encourage greater investment in the creation of infrastructure ;

That the Communications and Transport Sector Program 2007-2012 establishes that one of the objectives of the Communications Sub- Sector is to promote the convergence of communications services in a sphere of technological neutrality, through adjustments to the regulatory framework and mechanisms that encourage the investment, development and modernization of services and networks installed in the country;

That said program establishes various lines of action, such as establishing the policy of Digital Radio in Mexico, promoting the conditions for concessionaires of AM radio stations to migrate to digital technologies, as well as making modifications to the Official Rules Mexicans of radio and television that allow to eliminate normative barriers for the best use of the spectrum and the technological advance;

That the State has the faculties to establish the conditions to which individuals must subject themselves in the use, exploitation and exploitation of public domain assets, for the benefit of society;

That the Second Resolution of the " Agreement through which obligations are established for radio and television concessionaires and permit holders related to digital technologies for broadcasting " , published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on October 3, 2000, added a condition Third Bis to the concession titles of the radio and television stations, to read as follows :

"THIRD CONDITION Bis.- In attention to the technological advances that are observed at international level and in order to improve the quality and diversity of the broadcasting services offered to the population, the Secretariat, in its opinion, will decide on the digital transmission technologies of broadcasting signals that will be adopted in Mexico.

The CONCESSIONAIRE shall be obliged to implement the technology or technologies so resolved by the Secretariat and, for that purpose, shall observe and carry out all actions within the terms, terms and conditions indicated by the Secretariat itself, in order to guarantee technical efficiency of the transmissions.

The modifications determined by the Secretariat to the technical conditions of operation of the concessioned station will be, as necessary for the proper introduction, implementation and operation of the services with the digital technology adopted by the Secretariat, on the use of a frequency, in the band in which the services are currently provided or in a different one; the service area that the CONCESSIONAIRE must cover; the apparent radiated power (PRA); the hours of operation, and other technical conditions determined by the Secretariat.

Because it will be necessary to simultaneously transmit analog and digital signals to guarantee continuity of service to the public, the Secretariat will determine the term during which simultaneous transmissions must be made; in case the digital transmission technologies adopted by the Secretariat involve the use of another frequency, the Secretariat itself will indicate, at its discretion and when it deems appropriate, the frequency that will be reinstated at the end of the simultaneous transmissions, and establish the term for such effects. "

That the introduction of digital technology to radio is a long-term process that has begun in Mexico with the study of available standards, field tests and voluntary transmissions that can be done in the area of ​​320 kilometers of the country's northern border;

That this Secretariat has carried out several technical studies in which it is concluded that the benefits that will be obtained in the digitization of the stations that operate in the FM band are superior to those that will be obtained in the digitization of the stations that operate in the band of AM, since:

(a) given the propagation characteristics of the AM band, digital interference may occur during night operation ;

(b) the compression of the signals limits the quality in the analog service;

(c) presents limitations in the operation with the use of directional and multiple antenna systems, and

(d) given the available bandwidth, the expectation of digitizing the radio in the AM band is to bring its audio quality to a level similar to that obtained by the current FM radio, while the digitalization of the radio in the FM band opens the possibilities to raise the quality of the signal to a level similar to that obtained with compact discs, or to increase the number of programs transmitted on the same frequency, among others;

That the Federal Telecommunications Commission (hereinafter the Commission) continues with the process of analysis and evaluation of the development of digital technologies recognized and considered for study with the purpose of issuing the Recommendation on the adoption of the digital radio standard that best guarantee the needs of the radio industry and the radio public;

That in the process that constitutes the introduction of the new digital radio technology, it is necessary to establish conditions in the short term that favor the transition of concessionaires and permit holders of the radio, in order to obtain the benefits that this technology offers;

That by virtue of what is stated in the preceding recital, this Secretariat considers it convenient to grant the possibility to those concessionaires that operate in the AM band, to request the change to operate in the FM band, in order to obtain the necessary resources to, in the future, migrate to the digital standard that was determined at the time;

That in accordance with data presented by the National Chamber of the Radio and Television Industry before the Plural Group for the Revision of the Legislation on Telecommunications and Broadcasting of the Senate of the Republic, in the case of commercial stations, in In 2003, the 473 FM stations obtained 72% of advertising revenues, while the 760 AM stations achieved revenues of 28% for the same item. The audience share of the FM radio went from 8% in 1972 to 77% in 2005, while for 2005 the average audience share of the FM was 83% and that of the AM of 17%;

That in order to encourage competition, it is essential that those concessionaires who have more than one AM or FM station in a given coverage area obtain the favorable opinion of the Federal Competition Commission, in order to be able to request the change of frequency referred to in this Agreement;

That the social function performed by permit holders is vital for the development of our country, so that said FM frequency change policy would be applicable to both concessionaires and permit holders currently operating in the AM band;

That the change of frequency from AM to FM so that in the future the station carries out digital transmissions in FM, requires that the concessionaire or permit holder make the necessary investments for the acquisition of transmitting equipment; the acquisition of a radiator system; transmission tower; the corresponding link system and, where appropriate, a new location, all considering the alternatives of digital standards with which it could be operated;

That the change of frequency does not mean the granting of a new concession or permit, since the frequency granted is to provide the service originally granted or licensed according to the technical characteristics of the FM radio band (88-108 MHz). On the other hand, the period of validity of the concessions and permits will not be modified , since they will come to an end once the term established in them has expired ;

That it is convenient to establish a schedule to carry out the change of frequencies, in order to be able to complete the technical studies for each of the regions of the country as well as to process the corresponding requests;

That the auditory quality of FM radio signals is 3 times higher than that which can be obtained from AM radio signals, which favors a higher quality service to the public;

That the AM radio industry needs to have conditions that allow it to increase its competitiveness, in order to carry out the investments that the introduction of digital radio technology brings;

That the provision of the radio service in the FM band requires a greater bandwidth in order to operate in accordance with the provisions of the Official Mexican Standard: NOM-02-SCT1-1993, specifications and requirements for installation and operation of FM sound broadcasting stations, as well as the corresponding digital radio standard;

That the State has the right to receive a consideration for the use of the radioelectric spectrum, the amount of which will be determined taking into account factors such as:

(i) references of the revenues, costs and margins of the industry by population covered by the technical specifications of the project, including investment programs and commitments;

(ii) the remaining period of validity of the respective concession;

(iii) the market value of advertising, and

(iv) other references that allow determining the value of an FM station.

That as long as the process of changing the frequencies of this Agreement is carried out, it is necessary to guarantee the provision of the radio service in order to protect the social function that it carries out, so it is convenient that the concessionaires and permit holders welcome the benefits of this resolution continue to use the frequency of AM for a time not exceeding one year, as long as they transmit simultaneously the same programming in both bands;

That in those localities where there is not enough spectrum for the implementation of this Agreement, it is necessary to carry out the corresponding bidding procedures , in order to achieve the migration of the largest number of AM stations to the FM band, and improve the quality in the provision of a service of public interest;

Given the propagation characteristics of FM signals in the 88-108 MHz band, it is possible that in some cases the coverage of the stations will be reduced in relation to the current coverage of AM stations in the 535 band. -1705 kHz, so in such cases, it is necessary to carry out the respective bidding or allocation processes, to have new concessions and permits in the FM band, and

Based on the foregoing, I have considered it appropriate to issue the following:


FIRST.- Radio concessionaires and permit holders operating in the AM band may request the Commission to change the frequency to operate in the FM band, according to the schedule and requirements established in this Agreement.

SECOND .- The Commission shall publish on its website those stocks where there is sufficient spectrum capacity for potential licensees and permit holders who are interested in carrying out the change of frequencies to operate in the FM band.

The publication referred to in the previous paragraph shall consider the efficient use of the spectrum and shall include the main city to be served, geographical reference coordinates and class of the station, according to the following order:

1. Region I: Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo.   

2. Region II: Veracruz, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero;   

3. Region III: Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and San Luis Potosí;   

4. Region IV: Jalisco, Colima, Michoacán and Guanajuato;   

5. Region V: Querétaro, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Puebla, State of Mexico, Federal District, Morelos, and   

6. Region VI: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.   

The Commission must publish the availability of frequencies in Region I within a period not to exceed fifteen business days from the entry into force of this Agreement. The deadlines for the publication of the other regions, will attend the calendar determined by the Secretariat for that purpose.

THIRD.- In order to be able to request the change of frequencies, radio concessionaires and permit holders operating in the AM band must present to the Commission, within the

six months following the date on which the information referred to in the second operative is published, an application that meets the following requirements:

to. Documentation that proves the legal capacity of the concessionaire or permit holder, including its shareholding composition;     

b. Manifestation under protest to tell the truth that you know and accept the terms of this Agreement, as well as the possible reduction in the coverage area of ​​the station;    

c. Documentation that certifies your financial capacity to carry out the installation, operation and exploitation of the FM frequency;     

d. The technical specifications of the project, which should include:    

(i) the operating conditions for the station in the FM band, endorsed by an expert in telecommunications with a specialty in broadcasting;   

(ii) frequency, apparent radiated power, radiation pattern of the antenna, height of the tower, where applicable, multiple operation sketches, location plan and service areas of the station, and  

(iii) populations that it covers with the AM station. 

and. Declaration under protest of truth in which it undertakes to comply with the legislation of the matter, including the electoral one, as well as the other dispositions issued by the Federal Government;     

F. In your case, the favorable opinion of the Federal Competition Commission.     

The Commission will request an opinion from the Ministry of the Interior in order to corroborate the suitability of the applicant. In case there is no favorable opinion from the Ministry of the Interior, the request will not be appropriate.

FOURTH.- The Commission will analyze that the change requests comply with the requirements established in this agreement and, if so, will require the concessionaires to pay the economic consideration that must be covered for the change of frequencies. The amount of the consideration will be determined by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, at the proposal of the Commission, taking into account:

(i) r eferences of revenues, costs and margins in the industry population covered by the technical specifications of the project, including programs and investment commitments;

(ii) the remaining period of validity of the respective concession;

(iii) the market value of advertising , and

(iv) other references that allow determining the value of an FM station.

FIFTH.- Once the payment of the economic consideration for the change of the frequency has been covered or, in the case of the permit holders, the requirements established in the third operative of this Agreement have been accredited , the Commission will send to the Secretariat the opinion favorable to the request, who will proceed to make the corresponding change of frequencies.

SIXTH.- The concessionaire or licensee must initiate operations on the FM frequency within a period of no more than one year, counted as of the notification of the frequency change, according to the authorized parameters.

The concessionaire or licensee must continue the operation of the AM frequency, being obliged to transmit simultaneously the same programming content in the AM and FM frequencies during one year, counted from the change of frequencies, except that in the coverage from the AM station there are populations that only receive the AM service, and must simultaneously transmit the same content on both frequencies for the time determined by the Commission in each case.

Upon expiration of said term, the right of the concessionaire or permit holder to use, exploit and exploit the frequency of AM will terminate, and the concession service will only be able to provide the service through the FM frequency.

S E PTIMO .- The Commission will carry out the corresponding work to determine the digital radio standard that will be used in the FM band, so that within a period not exceeding one year from the publication of this Agreement, propose to the Secretariat a Policy so that the concessionaires and permit holders carry out the transition to the corresponding digital technology.

EIGHTH .- No change may request frequency refers to this Agreement, those concessionaires or permit holders operating in the AM band featuring an FM frequency on which to transmit scheduling an AM station simultaneously in the same city.

NINTH .- Radio concessionaires and permit holders operating in the AM band that have more than one AM or FM station in the same coverage area, may request the Commission to change frequencies, as long as they have satisfied the requirements established in this Agreement and obtain the favorable opinion of the Federal Competition Commission.

TENTH .- The validity of the concessions and permits whose frequency bands are changed in terms of this Agreement will be respected until its end.

ELEVENTH.- In those towns where there is not enough spectrum for the implementation of this Agreement, the Commission will carry out tenders in accordance with provisions of the Federal Law on Radio and Television, and other regulations and administrative provisions applicable .

TWELTH - The Commission must carry out the corresponding bidding or allocation processes for the granting of concessions and permits, in those localities that cease to receive the radio service due to the change in frequency.

THIRTEENTH.- The concessionaires and permit holders must resolve any problem of harmful interference in accordance with the measures dictated by the Commission.

FOURTEENTH .- Failure by the concessionaire or licensee to comply with the provisions of this agreement will void the authorization to change the frequency.


FIRST.- This Agreement will enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Gazette of the Federation.

SECOND.- Subparagraph b of the second numeral of the Agreement is hereby repealed, which reserves the use of frequency bands of the radioelectric spectrum to carry out research and development work related to the introduction of digital broadcasting, published in the Official Gazette. of the Federation on March 27 , 2000.

Mexico, Federal District , on the twelfth day of the month of September, two thousand and eight. - The Secretary of Communications and Transportation, Luis Téllez Kuenzler .- Signature.