Altan, a consortium whose backers include US, Chinese and local investors, won the tender to build a multi-billion dollar wholesale mobile network in Mexico, after the only other bidder was disqualified for not presenting enough funds.

The consortium is led by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure with a 33 per cent stake, followed by a 23 per cent stake held by the China-Mexico Fund.  Additional shareholders include Canada’s second-largest pension fund, Caisse du Depot et Placement du Quebec, local cable television operator Megacable and Axtel, a local telecoms operator.

The tender was delayed several times, most recently when last week a consortium made up of Rivada Networks and Spectrum Frontier was disqualified by the Ministry of Communications and Transport for not presenting a $52 million bid bond on time, a decision it is currently contesting in court.

Altan has already raised $750 million and plans for the network to cover 92 per cent of the population within seven years, Reuters reported.

Rivada Networks believes its bid included a better plan. Co-CEO Declan Ganley has been tweeting about it: “No surprise, Rivada’s coverage plan is significantly higher than only opened bid. People of Mexico are being given a raw deal, which is sad.”

According to earlier government estimates, 85 per cent coverage would need some $3.5 billion, and 95 per cent around $7 billion.

Altan is the second investment for the China-Mexico Fund,  an investment firm which has raised $1.2 billion to date.

Altan will be allowed to use high quality spectrum in the 700MHz band and will be given a 20-year public-private partnership contract to build a 4G network that can be rented to operators.

The network is part of a strategy to reel in the dominance of America Movil.