AT&T today agreed to acquire Mexico wireless provider Iusacell for $2.5 billion.
The deal nets AT&T Iusacell’s licenses, network assets, retail stores as well as its approximately 8.6 million subscribers. Iusacell operates as both Iusacell and Unefón and maintains a network that covers about 70 percent of Mexico’s population. AT&T expects to expand Iusacell’s network to cover more customers in Mexico.
“Our acquisition of Iusacell is a direct result of the reforms put in place by President Peña Nieto to encourage more competition and more investment in Mexico. Those reforms together with the country’s strong economic outlook, growing population and growing middle class make Mexico an attractive place to invest,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement.
The reforms mentioned are also the root cause of dominant Mexico carrier America Movil divesting part of its wireless assets. The carrier needs to shed enough of its market share to get below 50 percent and regulations targeted at dominant carriers in Mexico.
AT&T has been rumored as one of the potential buyers for those assets. But for now it looks like AT&T is focused on it Iusacell acquisition.
AT&T says the deal will give it the assets needed to “create a first-ever North American Mobile Service area for U.S. customers calling or visiting Mexico, and Mexican customers calling or visiting the United States.”
AT&T will take control of Iusacell’s 3G GSM/UMTS network, 20 and 25 MHz of 800 MHz spectrum, primarily in the southern half of the country; and an average of 39MHz of PCS spectrum nationwide.
Iusacell’s Total Play pay TV and wireline broadband business will be spun out to Grupo Salinas before the acquisition closes.
Grupo Salinas currently owns 50 percent of Iusacell and is in the process of acquiring the other half before completing its transaction with AT&T.