Federal Telecommunications Institute now requires all smartphone manufacturers to enable the technology that allows the device to pick up FM radio signals. Move came after months of pressure from National Chamber of Radio and Television Industry (CIRT). Mexico is the first country in the world to enact such legislation.
There are more than 1,300 FM radio stations in the country, and internet users spend an average of 2 hours 50 minutes listening to radio each day. Yet very few do so on their smartphones. That’s all about to change.
CIRT noted that most smartphones are already designed with a built-in FM radio receiver. Yet in order for smartphone users to get radio signals on their devices, the receivers must be activated by manufacturers. In cases of emergencies or natural disasters FM-enabled smartphones would allow government agencies to send out alerts to citizens.
The effort to enable smartphones’ FM radio capabilities could spread beyond Mexico’s borders. This past February, US Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai made a strong argument in favor of FM radio on smartphones. However, he believes the FCC should leave the matter up to the market, rather than forcing the hand of smartphone manufacturers.
The law will also make selling iPhones in Mexico more complicated, since Apple’s iOS was never designed to offer the option to listen to FM radio.
eMarketer estimates there will be 59.8 million smartphone users in Mexico this year. The new rule will give these users free radio access directly from their smartphones, but some analysts fear it will also create a new form of competition and lead to revenue loss for mobile operators, many of whom profit from users streaming data.
On the other hand, the rule is very good news for advertisers, noted Gabriel Richaud, director general of the Interactive Advertising Bureau México since the changes will allow them to leverage the value of broadcasting—local relevancy and audience loyalty—with the rest of their paid and owned media efforts. Brands will be able to explore the combination of linear audio with the interaction of digital platforms, which can lead to a richer dynamic between content generators, advertisers and the audience, Richaud said to eMarketer.
Read the full story on eMarketer:
New Rules in Mexico Unlock FM Radio on Smartphones
FM Radio a Global Standard Mobile Emergency Utility
FCC Chairman Encourages Activation of FM Radio in Your iPhone