Mexican judge orders cancellation of Nextel’s 1700MHZ licence

17 Nov 2011

A Mexican judge has reportedly ordered the Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) to revoke the mobile concession awarded to Nextel de Mexico in October 2010, according to the European Pressphoto Agency.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in June 2010 it was announced that a joint venture between Nextel and Mexican media giant Televisa had successfully bid MXN48.3 million (USD3.82 million) for one 10MHz block of 1900MHz spectrum, and later that same month the duo emerged as the sole bidder for the nationwide concession in 1700MHz spectrum auction, offering the minimum bid of MXN180.3 million for 30MHz in each of the country’s nine mobile operating regions. Political pressure to overturn the result quickly emerged however, with calls for the Comision Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Cofetel) to reject Televisa and Nextel’s bid, but the regulator formally announced the closure of the auctions in August 2010, with the Televisa/Nextel JV given 45 days to make full payment for its concessions. The following month though it was reported that a court ruling was preventing the SCT from allocating the new licensee the wireless spectrum it had been awarded, following a number of legal challenges to spectrum award, including one by Grupo Iusacell which sought to block the sale on the grounds that the JV was paying too little for the frequencies. The JV finally received its much-contested concessions in early October 2010, only for reports just a few weeks later to suggest that Televisa was to back out of the agreement to acquire a stake in Nextel; such rumours proved well founded, with the pair revealing that they had called off their previously announced joint venture later that same month.

Second District Judge Alfredo Cid Garcia has, however, now ruled that the Nextel/Televisa JV violated bidding rules, and has ordered the SCT to nullify the award of the 1700MHz licence. According to the ruling, the regulator has been instructed to revoke the concession as it ‘did not stick to the law in the process and the delivery of concessions’, violating Article 134 of the Constitution in awarding the concession to the joint venture.

With the initial report noting that both the SCT and Nextel had ten days to appeal the matter, according to Cadena de Noticias Nextel has already taken such steps, with claims the telco’s lawyers have challenged the latest legal ruling. The appeal is now expected to be sent to an appellate court for resolution, but no timeframe for the conclusion of the matter has been suggested.