America Movil controller Carlos Slim has expressed his belief that potential buyers for the assets that the operator plans to sell are unlikely to come from within Mexico.
With AT&T and Telefonica mooted as possible candidates, Slim has implied that there are currently no Mexican operators with the capability to compete with America Movil.
The operator currently has a share of around 70% of Mexico’s mobile market, and is selling assets in order to bring this below 50% in the face of strict anti-monopoly proposals by the new Mexican regulator IFT. As yet, no operators have publicly declared an interest in buying the assets.
Telefonica has a strong presence in Latin America and currently owns the Mexican number two, Movistar. However, the unit is dramatically smaller than America Movil’s Telcel – the two firms respectively have 19 million and 98 million connections – so Movistar is likely looking to take some of Telcel’s market share.
US-based AT&T has a longstanding relationship with America Movil, but this is no guarantee that it will acquire the assets. Slim has stated that he is unbiased towards potential buyers, saying “We don’t have a preference”, but noting that a Mexican buyer was unlikely.