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AT&T to Buy Mexican Cell Provider Iusacell

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Nov 7, 2014, 4:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced it has agreed to acquire Mexican wireless company Iusacell for $2.5 billion. Iusacell offers wireless service under its own name and the Unefon brand name. It has 8.6 million subscribers, but covers about 70% of Mexico's population of 120 million. AT&T will gain the subscribers, spectrum licenses, network assets, and retail operations of Iusacell. The deal requires that Grupo Salinas, which currently owns just 50% of Iusacell, complete its acquisition of the portion of the company it does not already own. Once it does, AT&T will buy Iusacell from Grupo Salinas. AT&T said it plans to expand Iusacell's network to cover more Mexicans. The company believes the deal makes sense for a number of reasons. Iusacell runs a GSM/UMTS network and owns 800MHz and 1900MHz spectrum in select portions Mexico. "Iusacell represents a natural geographic expansion of [our] wireless footprint into a country with a growing economy that is interdependent with the U.S. economy," said AT&T. "Recent changes to government policies in Mexico have created a friendly climate for foreign investment. This transaction gives AT&T the assets necessary 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 –whether they live near the border or thousands of miles away." AT&T sees the acquisition as a long-term growth opportunity. Iusacell will remain headquartered in Mexico City. AT&T said it expects the deal to gain the necessary regulatory approvals before the end of the first quarter of 2015.

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Nov 7, 2014, 5:54 PM

The beginning of global carriers?

The drug cartels will love this, if they don't already have their own network. 🙂
Global carriers have been around. It's just that we don't see them here. However, there are several companies that operate in more than one country, including Vodafone, Orange, Digicel, and Cable & Wireless. Actually, add Softbank to that list, sin...
Score another one for Lenovo. The Chinese company already owns IBMs old laptop business, which it sells under it's own name. Then it buys AT&T server lines, which gives it a good foundation of North America and then buys Motorola. Moto now buys lucase...
Pink Jazz

Nov 9, 2014, 11:55 AM

Will AT&T conver Iusacell from CDMA to GSM?

Note that Iusacell is Mexico's largest CDMA carrier. I wonder if AT&T plans to convert them over to GSM. Cricket was fairly easy to convert due to their small size, but Iusacell is the third largest carrier in Mexico and Mexico's largest CDMA carrier.
I guess it depends on whether they want to merge their network with Lusacell's network. It could be a distinct advantage to both companies if people travelling back and forth from Mexico could use the same network.
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