América Móvil snaps up Paraguayan cellco

10 May 2005

Mexican-based mobile group América Móvil has agreed to buy Paraguay’s smallest cellco Hutchison Telecommunications Paraguay (HTP) from Hutchison Telecommunications International for an undisclosed amount as part of its Latin America expansion. HTP, which operates under the brand name Port-Hable, has had a chequered history. Despite being awarded an A-band PCS licence in early 1995, it did not launch a commercial service until January 2000 and was forced to close its network later that year after experiencing numerous capacity problems. It was finally re-launched with an expanded network and increased subscriber capacity in March 2001. Since then the operator has expanded its services and reach, but remains well behind rivals Hola Paraguay, Núcleo and Telecel with just a 5% market share at the end of 2004. América Móvil, however, is confident that its leadership can turn HTP into a genuine contender in Paraguay’s wireless market. América Móvil already has operations in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Uruguay, and recently won a wireless licence in Peru. This week the company announced its desire to extend its reach beyond Latin America by bidding in the forthcoming frequency auction in Spain.