Operators with the resources to compete with America Movil in its home market are unlikely to be Mexican, Carlos Slim told Reuters, as speculation grows about potential buyers following the operator’s announcement that it will shed assets.
Both AT&T and Telefonica have been suggested as possible purchasers.
America Movil last week announced its decision to reduce national market share below 50 per cent through the sale of assets, following regulatory pressure from the Mexican government.
So far no potential buyers have gone public.
US operator AT&T has a long relationship with America Movil but that is set for a shakeup as a result of AT&T’s planned acquisition of satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV.
Meanwhile Telefonica might also be interested in expanding its presence in Mexico. The Spanish operator’s Movistar unit is actually second placed in the country’s mobile market with 19 mobile connections (GSMA Intelligence, Q2, 2014 figures) but is dwarfed by the 98 million connections of America Movil’s Telcel.
The country’s two other operators, which both trail even further behind Telcel, are Nextel and Salinas/Televisa’s Iusacell.
In the interview, Slim pronounced himself unconcerned about the buyer’s identity: “We don’t have a preference.” However, he said the buyer was unlikely to be Mexican.