NII looks to Brazil expansion and 3G to continue growth

14 Aug 2008

Latin American wireless carrier NII Holdings says it plans to increase investment in third-generation technology and ramp up its Brazilian business in a bid to sustain its recent strong growth in the region. In an interview with Reuters, NII chief executive Steven Dussek said the company was looking to take part in upcoming wireless spectrum auctions in Brazil and Mexico in a bid to enter the 3G markets there. The company, which offers post-paid services to business customers under the Nextel banner, has already begun preliminary testing of a 3G network in Peru, the first market where it intends to launch the technology – in late 2009. Dussek believes the prospect of offering mobile data services through 3G will double the group’s addressable market. Until now NII has relied exclusively on Motorola’s iDEN technology.

In particular, NII sees strong growth prospects in Brazil and last month announced it was increasing its CAPEX there by USD100 million to increase penetration. Nextel Brasil currently commands a market share of around 5% of the post-paid market. Dussek said: ‘We expect to work at increasing market share in Brazil towards 30% … and hope to edge closer to that mark over the next three years’. NII also sees revenue growth opportunities in offering data services such as e-mail, internet and music.