AT&T is starting to rebrand its Mexican wireless operations under its own name and its top Mexican executive acknowledged that while it is starting to shake up the market it still faces a formidable rival in América Móvil, the dominant Mexican carrier.
Now that it has completed its $2.5 billion acquisition of Mexican operator Iusacell and its $1.88 billion purchase of Nextel Mexico's wireless assets from bankrupt NII Holdings, AT&T is ready to push ahead with its Mexican agenda. That agenda, specifically, is to create a Mexican stronghold by replicating what the company has done in the U.S.: deploying LTE and selling smartphones. But will the company's investment in Mexico pay off?
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said it will likely be around 18 months before AT&T can deliver a truly strong LTE data experience beyond urban areas in Mexico. The AT&T chief said though that he is confident AT&T can ride the wave of mobile data growth that the carrier expects from Mexico's burgeoning middle class.
AT&T is going to be in for a long haul in terms of upgrading its wireless network in Mexico. It will take "a couple of years" to reshape and improve the business in Mexico, according to AT&T Mexico CEO Thaddeus Arroyo.
AT&T Mobility's GoPhone prepaid customers who are on the carrier's $60 plan will soon get unlimited calling to Mexico. The addition of the calling option is the latest step AT&T has taken to make calling to Mexico more seamless, especially for its prepaid customers, following AT&T's purchase of wireless assets south of the border.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told investors about as clearly as he could that the carrier is not going to snap up assets that América Móvil is going to divest, and will instead focus on growing its business in Mexico via its acquisitions of Iusacell and NII Holdings' Nextel Mexico businesses.
AT&T is getting lots of wireless spectrum in Mexico on the cheap by buying bankrupt NII Holdings' Mexican wireless assets, according to financial analysts. And AT&T might not stop there and could look to bulk up its position in Mexico by acquiring assets that former partner América Móvil is going to divest, according to the analysts and other industry sources.
AT&T said it will acquire the Mexican wireless assets of bankrupt NII Holdings for $1.875 billion, less outstanding net debt. The deal marks AT&T's latest expansion south of the U.S border following its $2.5 billion purchase of Mexican carrier Iusacell, which closed earlier this month.
AT&T officially closed its $2.5 billion purchase of No. 3 Mexican carrier Iusacell from Grupo Salinas. AT&T named company veteran F. Thaddeus Arroyo as CEO of Iusacell following the close of the deal.
Mexico's competition regulator approved AT&T's $2.5 billion purchase of No.3 Mexican carrier Iusacell, with certain conditions, clearing the way for the deal to close sometime in the first quarter of 2015.