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MEXICO CITY, July 16 (Reuters) - Mexico has postponed the bidding process for a planned wholesale telecommunications network by more than a month, the government said, in the latest upset to the project which has been plagued by delays since its inception.
In a statement on Friday evening, the Communications and Transport Ministry said proposals must now be submitted by Oct. 20, pushed back from the Sept. 8 deadline. The ministry said would-be bidders needed more time to secure financing for the project.
The venture, initially meant to be launched by 2014, is part of a telecommunications reform aimed at curbing the dominance of tycoon Carlos Slim's America Movil and broaden Mexico's cell phone network and penetration.
It offers the winner of the bid cheap use of high quality spectrum in the 700MHz band and a 20-year public-private partnership contract to build a 4G LTE mobile network that operators and virtual network operators can rent.
Terms of the bid were released in late January, including key deadlines in the process that the government decided to postpone in March.
The bid's winner will be announced on Nov. 17 and the contract signed by Jan. 27 at the latest, the ministry said. (Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez Editing by W Simon)