Nextel exploring migration to LTE?

25 Mar 2014

Nextel Argentina, the local unit of US-based NII Holdings, is looking into the possibility of rolling out 4G LTE technology in the country, following its failure to win 3G spectrum at auction in September 2012. According to a report by iProfesional, which cites sources close to the company, Nextel is carrying out studies on the potential move and is seeking a technical partner to advise on the possible migration to LTE. Mirroring parent NII Holdings’ strategy in other Latin American markets, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Nextel had planned to take part in the Argentine government’s auction of wireless spectrum in the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands, with a view to migrating from iDEN to W-CDMA technology. However, in September 2012 the government called off the auction and instead awarded the frequencies to state-owned satellite and telecoms operator Arsat. As a step towards realigning its business, NII agreed to sell its Peruvian unit to Entel Chile in April 2013, and the following July it was reported that Carlos Slim, the controlling shareholder of Mexican telecoms giant America Movil (AM), had held talks with Nextel Argentina about a possible purchase of the company. At the same time, local businessman Eduardo Eurnekian was also said to be interested in acquiring Nextel, although no further developments have been reported since.