AT&T to Buy Mexican Mobile Operator Iusacell

AT&T is buying Iusacell the Mexican mobile service provider for US$2.5 billion, inclusive of Iusacell debt.

AT&T will acquire all of Iusacell’s mobile  properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 8.6 million subscribers.

The acquisition will occur after Grupo Salinas, the current owner of 50 percent of Iusacell, closes its announced purchase of the other 50 percent of Iusacell that Grupo Salinas does not already own.

“Iusacell gives us a unique opportunity to create the first-ever North American Mobile Service area covering over 400 million consumers and businesses in Mexico and the United States, said  Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “ It won’t matter which country you’re in or which country you’re calling – it will all be one network, one customer experience.”

Iusacell offers wireless service under both the Iusacell and Unefón brand names with a network that today covers about 70 percent of Mexico’s approximately 120 million people. AT&T plans to expand Iusacell’s network.

Iusacell operates a 3G wireless network using the GSM/UMTS air interface that AT&T uses in the United States.

Iusacell owns between 20 MHz and 25 MHz of 800 MHz spectrum, primarily in the southern half of the country, including Mexico City and Guadalajara, and an average of 39 MHz of personal communications service spectrum nationwide (similar to the 2=GHz spectrum used by T-Mobile US and Sprint.

The acquisition is not unusual. The former SBC grew to its present size primarily through acquisitions, and AT&T has almost run out of sizable acquisition targets in the U.S. market.
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