AT&T to invest USD3bn in Mexico by 2018; coverage of 100m expected

26 Jun 2015

AT&T Inc, the US telco that recently acquired Mexican carriers Iusacell and Nextel, has revealed plans to invest USD3 billion south of the border by 2018. Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman and CEO, outlined the plans following a meeting with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City. Stephenson commented: ‘We are building a network in Mexico that is capable of bringing innovation and economic vitality to the country, just as we have done in the US. We plan to deliver high-quality, high speed mobile internet service to Mexico, creating the first-ever ‘North American Mobile Service Area’ covering 400 million people and businesses in Mexico and the US. This seamless network will link together our two countries’ economies, people and cultures like never before.’

The first phase of the network deployment, which will reach 40 million Mexicans, is due for completion by end-2015, with coverage set to increase to 75 million people by end-2016 and 100 million by the end of 2018. However, AT&T remains coy as to the precise technology it intends to roll out, although a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network deployment seems likely. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Iusacell introduced HSPA+ coverage in November 2010, but has yet to inaugurate an LTE network. For its part, Nextel switched on its LTE network in October 2014, with initial coverage of Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

The US telco will be hoping the increased population coverage translates into end users; last month AT&T confirmed that Iusacell’s subscriber total stood at just 5.97 million as of 31 March 2015, compared to the figure of 9.20 million cited when the USD2.5 billion takeover deal closed in January this year. Meanwhile, Nextel’s user base stood at 3.022 million at the same date. Underlining the scale of the job ahead of AT&T, Telcel and Movistar claimed 72.07 million and 22.54 million users, respectively, at the end of the first quarter.