Typically when we think of the big 4 carriers duking it out for air wave supremacy, the battleground lies here on US soil. Today, AT&T is taking the fight down south, announcing a deal to buy Mexican carrier Iusacell for $2.5 billion. That’s certainly a lot of cheese and a huge play by AT&T who is now looking to expand their reach beyond US borders.
Currently, Iusacell’s network blankets about 70% of Mexican citizens and the deal would bring their 8.6 million customers under AT&T’s wing. AT&T expects the deal to close early next year and after alls said and done, their network would total a little over 400 million customers across the US and Mexico, creating what AT&T calls “the first-ever North American mobile service area.” This means that AT&T customers in the US, could travel between both countries without loss of service or roaming charges (and vice versa). This also presents a unique opportunity for competition in Mexico, where things like unlimited calling and texting are simply unheard of. AT&T stepping into the ring should help shake things up a bit.
But nothing is set in stone just yet. AT&T still needs to gain the approval of both the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Mexico’s telecommunications regulator) and the National Foreign Investments Commission before they’re in the clear. As for the fate of Iusacell, it’s not clear if AT&T will rebrand it as their own, but apparently their headquarters will remain in Mexico City.