US-based NII Holdings and Mexican broadcast giant Grupo Televisa have called off their previously announced joint venture, Reuters is reporting. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in February 2010 it was revealed that Televisa had agreed to pay USD1.44 billion for a 30% holding in NII’s Mexican subsidiary, digital trunking operator Nextel de Mexico, while the option to purchase an additional 7.5% stake was also included as part of the deal. Commenting on the dissolution of the partnership between Televisa and Nextel, the latter’s vice president, Gustavo Cantu, noted: ‘Televisa is a very diversified company and they perceived other kind of risks… regulatory risks that would reflect on its other businesses.’ Meanwhile, a Televisa source acknowledged that both parties had been discouraged by recent legal challenges by rivals related to the government’s auction of spectrum in the 1700MHz band; last week a court granted an injunction to mobile network operator Iusacell which prevents Nextel and Televisa from using the frequencies they won in August 2010.
Despite the break-up of the joint venture, Nextel has confirmed that it will continue to ‘execute upon the strategy that calls for the deployment of a third generation network across Mexico with the first phase of the commercial launch of that network expected to occur in the next twelve to 18 months.’ NII Holdings’ vice president and CFO Gokul Hemmady added: ‘We are in a strong financial position with the funding necessary to carry out our deployment plans in the country and look forward to offering more choice in wireless services to the people of Mexico.’
Televisa meanwhile has indicated that it may still explore other possible options for entering the mobile sector, with Reuters quoting an unnamed source as saying: ‘We remain interested in the opportunity (of the mobile market) but we will keep our options open that may [or] may not include a deal with Nextel.’