AT&T funnels $3 billion into Mexico to create North American network

AT&T has pledged an investment of around $3 billion into expanding its high-speed mobile broadband network in Mexico.

The operator has stated its goal of providing coverage to 100 million subscribers by the end of 2018. The American firm acquired 2 Mexican operators this year – Iusacell and Nextel, for $2.5 billion and $1.9 billion respectively – in order to position itself as a viable competitor to America Movil and Telefonica.

Over the next 6 months, AT&T will extend its network to a third of the population – around 40 million people – as part of the first phase of investment. By the end of next year, it aims to cover 75 million.

Leveraging its US network is a core pillar of AT&T’s Mexican strategy, as this will allow it to create a “North American Mobile Service” to connect business and consumers across both countries, enabling Mexican customers to use their voice and data tariffs as normal while in the US. AT&T customers can also call each other between Mexico and the US without incurring any additional charges.

Chief executive Randall Stephenson said: “We are building a network in Mexico that is capable of bringing innovation and economic vitality to the country, just as we have done the US. This seamless network will link together our two countries’ economies, peoples and cultures like never before.”

Stephenson added that the telecom reforms introduced by President Enrique Pena Nieto have allowed the operator to “invest in building an advanced mobile network in Mexico”. The reforms, introduced in 2013 and enforced by new regulator Ifetel, are aimed at curbing monopolies, with a particular focus on the former dominance of market leader America Movil.