Mexican local exchange carrier Axtel has announced plans to expand into new cities next year. Currently, Axtel has operations in Guadalajara, Mexico City, Puebla, Monterrey, Toluca and Leon. Its short-term goals are the consolidation of operations in the existing six cities this year, possibly followed by expansion into four cities likely including Reynoso, Queretero, and McAllen, Texas as well as other candidate cities in 2004. Axtel has recently increased its coverage by adding 90,000 new lines to the 320,000 it had in service at the start of 2003. Nevertheless, it remains in the shadow of Mexico’s former it incumbent operator Telmex, which maintains more than 15 million active lines.