AT&T returns Mexican 800MHz spectrum

28 Oct 2020

AT&T Mexico has handed back selected frequencies in the 800MHz band, as agreed with the Federal Telecommunications Institute (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones, IFT) back in May 2019. The bulk of the concessions were inherited as a result of AT&T’s 2015 takeover of Nextel de Mexico. The decision is understood to be motivated by the telco’s desire to make more efficient use of its spectrum holdings.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Movistar returned its entire holding of 1900MHz and 2500MHz spectrum in 1Q20, generating EUR95 million (USD104 million) and terminating the coverage obligations attached to the 2500MHz band. Movistar was able to do so after signing a ‘last mile wireless capacity access agreement’ with AT&T in November 2019 – gaining access to capacity on AT&T’s nationwide 3G and 4G networks.

Typically, Mexican spectrum auctions involve a modest upfront payment, with the bulk of the fees spread over the 15/20-year terms of the licences.