The collaboration between the Mexican media company Grupo Televisa and the mobile operator NII Holdings (Nextel) has come to an abrupt end, with GT scrapping its agreement to purchase a 30% stake in Nextel.
The original agreement came about in February, with the two firms pledging to bid in the Mexican 3G auctions and – following their success – launch a 3G network. Despite winning a nationwide allocation of 30MHz in the 1710 – 2170MHz frequency band, the agreement and equity investment have been canned, with neither firm providing a reason.
Although the alliance is no more, both companies are planning on providing mobile services individually, with Nextel claiming that it will invest US$1.5 billion into launching a 3G network on the spectrum that it won in the auction, with the aim of deploying it commercially within the next 12 to 18 months.
Meanwhile, Televisa’s official response indicates that the deal was not scrapped due to a dispute between the companies. A representative speaking to Reuters claimed: “We remain interested in the opportunity [in mobile] but we will keep our options open, that may, or may not, include a deal with Nextel”, indicating that the relationship between the firms has not soured.
In terms of connections, Nextel sits in the middle of the 7 Mexican mobile operators, with around 3.2 million connections in the third quarter. While it aims to catch up with Telcel, Telefonica and Iusacell, the latter operator has stymied its progress by disputing certain legal issues pertaining to the 3G auctions.
Iusacell argues that antitrust regulators had imposed caps on spectrum that prevented established operators from bidding for the nationwide 30MHz block, and has filed over 70 lawsuits in support of this assertion.