Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

AT&T to Buy Nextel de México, Continuing It's Expansion into Latin America

As reported by GigaOM: AT&T’s plans to tackle the Mexico market aren’t just limited to buying a single mobile operator Iusacell. It announced Monday it is buying Lusacell’s competitor Nextel de México for $1.875 billion from NII Holdings and will merge its operations into its growing pan-American network.

AT&T closed its $2.5B deal for Lusacell earlier this month, making it the third largest mobile carrier in Mexico. Adding Nextel’s 3 million subscribers will give AT&T about 12.2 million customers in Mexico, but it will remain a distant third place to Mexican giant América Móvil.  

Nextel de México is one of the many companies to carry the Nextel brand throughout North and South America. The most famous Nextel Communications group was acquired by Sprint a decade ago, and its brand was only recently retired. But several other Nextel’s continued operating in different countries under the NII Holdings umbrella. NII filed for bankruptcy last year, so the AT&T offer has to go through the bankruptcy court. That means it could trigger a potential auction for Nextel de México’s assets.

Like the other Nextels, Nextel de México runs iDEN Networks, which were once celebrated for their walkie-talkie-like push-to-talk capabilities but fell out of use during the mobile data revolution. Nextel Mexico, however, has since launched a 3G network based on HSPA technology that lines up with AT&T’s technology. It’s also launched LTE in three major cities: Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.