AT&T has completed its purchase of the Mexican mobile operator Iusacell.
The US-based operator first announced the planned deal in November. It has paid $2.5 billion to acquire the unit from Grupo Salinas, including its licences, infrastructure, and its 9.2 million subscribers.
The deal was expedited by Grupo Televisa selling its 50% stake in Iusacell to Grupo Salinas earlier this month. Acquiring a unit in Mexico will allow AT&T to create the first ever North American Mobile Service area, encompassing over 400 million subscribers and businesses across Mexico and the US.
Iusacell is placed third in the Mexican market, after America Movil and Telefonica which respectively have 70 million and 21 million connections. Its 3G network uses the same WCDMA technology as AT&T’s. The US operator is aiming to address rising demand for mobile internet services in Mexico, which currently has around half the smartphone penetration of the US.
F. Thaddeus Arroyo has been appointed CEO of Iusacell. He has worked for 19 years at AT&T, and will oversee Iusacell’s integration into AT&T with assistance from its previous CEO, Adrian Steckel.
Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said: “The quick approval of this deal is one more example of why Mexico is an attractive place to invest. We look forward to bringing more wireless competition to Mexico along with an improved mobile internet experience for customers.”
The operator added that expanding into Mexico was a natural progression, as the country’s growing economy is closely linked to that of the US.