AT&T announced a deal to acquire the Mexican business of NII Holdings – which trades as Nextel – for $1.9 billion less outstanding debt, shortly after completing its $2.5 billion acquisition of Iusacell.
Under the terms of the deal, AT&T will acquire all of NII’s assets in Mexico, including spectrum licences, network assets, retail stores and “approximately three million subscribers”.
AT&T said the combination of Iusacell and Nextel will enable it to “more quickly improve and expand its mobile internet service to the benefit of millions of Mexicans, particularly those who live outside major metropolitan areas, than it could otherwise do without the transaction”.
According to GSMA Intelligence figures, Nextel and Iusacell together ended 2014 with 11.6 million connections, giving a market share of around 11 per cent. The market is dominated by America Movil’s Telcel (70.9 million) and Telefonica’s Movistar (21 million).
The deal is subject to a bankruptcy auction and approvals by a US court, which is overseeing the restructuring of NII Holdings. It is also subject to regulatory approval by IFT, Mexico’s telecoms regulator.
In a statement, AT&T said that “based on its recent positive experience with Mexico’s focused regulatory review and approval process”, it expects the transaction to close in mid-2015.