AT&T Eyes the International Market, Announces Acquisition of Mexico’s Iusacell
AT&T, the 20th-largest mobile telecom operator in the world with over 116.6 million mobile customers, has just expanded its multinational telecom estate in a pretty significant fashion. The company has announced that they will be purchasing Mexican wireless carrier Iusacell for $2.5 billion.
“Iusacell gives us a unique opportunity to create the first-ever North American Mobile Service area covering over 400 million consumers and businesses in Mexico and the United States,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. “It won’t matter which country you’re in or which country you’re calling — it will all be one network, one customer experience.” The company also revealed that they will also take over Iusacell’s 8.6 million subscribers and the carrier’s technology, which currently covers about 70 percent of Mexico’s 120 million citizens.
For AT&T, the move fits into a strategy that it has articulated for more than two years: diversifying its revenue by moving into foreign markets. “We just think over the long haul that the global telecommunications marketplace will continue to scale,” John Stankey, AT&T’s Chief Strategy Officer said in the statement. “Over time, AT&T will explore the potential bundling of phone and pay TV services in Mexico,” Mr. Stankey said. But for now, the carrier is focused on offering phones and high-speed wireless data services.
Iusacell’s network is based on the same GSM technology that AT&T uses. The company said that Iusacell will continue to be headquartered in Mexico City after the acquisition is complete. There is no word on whether AT&T will rebrand and integrate Iusacell under its own umbrella.
The deal comes five months after AT&T sold its stake in América Móvil, Mexico’s biggest phone company, after agreeing to buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion. The American company later acknowledged that it would begin competing directly against its onetime partner.