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AT&T completes Nextel Mexico acquisition


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From the Dallas Morning News:

 

AT&T Inc. said Thursday that it completed its acquisition of Nextel Mexico from NII Holdings Inc. for $1.87 billion, less about $427 million of net debt and other adjustments.

 
Dallas-based AT&T plans to combine Nextel and Iusacell, a Mexican wireless provider acquired earlier this year, into one company. It also plans to create a North American mobile service area that will cover more than 400 million consumers and businesses in Mexico and the U.S.

 

 

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I have to mention, I'm kinda sick of hearing about AT&T's North American fantasy. They want to go all Mexico happy when back at home: they still have holes in their LTE all over the place and no VoLTE in a ton of places (not an invitation for particularly VZW comparisons, especially for those in markets like mine), they still need to add CA to tons and tons of towers, and they still need to roll out WCS and start offering devices to be compatible with it.  

 

I'm not a particular fanboy of AT&T, but good lord could they be handing VZW's butt to them in the majority of markets if they gave half a damn.  <_<

 

How about another multi-billion purchase, Ma Bell? Just for fun!

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Nextel Mexico runs an 800MHz iDEN and AWS HSPA+ network.

 

Now that AT&T has bought them, they'll take that AWS (band 4) spectrum and use it for LTE, which will fit in nicely with Iusacell's and AT&T's spectrum.

 

But again, it's going to take major investment into Mexico's network to get them to compete against Telcel (America Movil) and Movistar (Telefonica). Both Iusacell and Nextel are tiny in terms of network coverage area and customers compared to Telcel and Movistar.

 

At the very least they should focus on achieving a Sprint-like urban + highway coverage area to reduce their roaming on Movistar.

 

Recently Carlos Slim (Telcel) spun off his towers into a different company (due to competition concerns), so this may make it significantly easier for AT&T to expand coverage... just lease space on towers that Telcel and Movistar already use. Backhaul on the other hand... I've noticed they use a lot of microwave backhaul down there.

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How about another multi-billion purchase, Ma Bell? Just for fun!

 

While its not directly related to the wireless side, AT&T is still in the process of trying to buy Directv for $45b. From what little I've read the Wall St analysts are giving the buyout a better shot at happening now that Comcast dropped their plans to buy TWC.

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Nextel Mexico runs an 800MHz iDEN and AWS HSPA+ network.

 

Now that AT&T has bought them, they'll take that AWS (band 4) spectrum and use it for LTE, which will fit in nicely with Iusacell's and AT&T's spectrum.

 

But again, it's going to take major investment into Mexico's network to get them to compete against Telcel (America Movil) and Movistar (Telefonica). Both Iusacell and Nextel are tiny in terms of network coverage area and customers compared to Telcel and Movistar.

 

At the very least they should focus on achieving a Sprint-like urban + highway coverage area to reduce their roaming on Movistar.

 

Recently Carlos Slim (Telcel) spun off his towers into a different company (due to competition concerns), so this may make it significantly easier for AT&T to expand coverage... just lease space on towers that Telcel and Movistar already use. Backhaul on the other hand... I've noticed they use a lot of microwave backhaul down there.

What I did notice back in the day was that even when Nextel had that rare highway coverage, it still had a lot of holes in it. Highway 57, which runs through the heart of Central Mexico and is a major corridor for NAFTA goods, had so many coverage gaps.

 

AT&T will have their hands full here. I'm assuming Nextel will get shut down and its spectrum will move to existing Iusacell infrastructure (since they cover more are)

 

Vaya con dios iDen.

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What will Nextel Mexico do with that low-band spectrum? More band 26 LTE maybe?

If I had to guess, that's what they will probably do. Most of Mexico's households are built out of brick and cement, so you'd think they'd like some good building penetration into homes and businesses. I think that they, just like Sprint, will have to change some regulations to be able to use LTE in that band with the COFETEL (or whatever their version of the FCC is named now).

 

With Sprint having this band on their phones, I don't think it would be too hard to have phone manufacturers add LTE Band 26 into At&t phones. I hope this, and the Canadian 2.5 GHz auction, will bring carriers to support multi-band LTE phones. One thing I am jealous about the iPhone is their amazing offering of LTE bands.

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If I had to guess, that's what they will probably do. Most of Mexico's households are built out of brick and cement, so you'd think they'd like some good building penetration into homes and businesses. I think that they, just like Sprint, will have to change some regulations to be able to use LTE in that band with the COFETEL (or whatever their version of the FCC is named now).

 

With Sprint having this band on their phones, I don't think it would be too hard to have phone manufacturers add LTE Band 26 into At&t phones. I hope this, and the Canadian 2.5 GHz auction, will bring carriers to support multi-band LTE phones. One thing I am jealous about the iPhone is their amazing offering of LTE bands.

The att iPhone already has band 26 on it.
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What I did notice back in the day was that even when Nextel had that rare highway coverage, it still had a lot of holes in it. Highway 57, which runs through the heart of Central Mexico and is a major corridor for NAFTA goods, had so many coverage gaps.

 

AT&T will have their hands full here. I'm assuming Nextel will get shut down and its spectrum will move to existing Iusacell infrastructure (since they cover more are)

 

Vaya con dios iDen.

Yeah, Iusacell and Nextel both have poor rural coverage. If AT&T wants to compete they'll have to improve the network to at least match Movistar coverage. It's the reason why they have so few customers. For current and future reference, here are some Mexican coverage maps:

 

Telcel - the largest network in coverage and customer size:

91igKrk.jpg

 

Movistar - second largest network in coverage and customers:

PDF file: http://www.movistar.com.mx/documents/10184/21525/Cobertura_Movistar_IFT_Voz_v2.pdf/171f486a-d1e0-4820-b510-07988a4b9197

Google Map: http://www.movistar.com.mx/descubre/cobertura

 

Iusacell - much of their coverage is spotty/non-continuous. Zoom out and pan around Mexico to see:

http://www.iusacell.com.mx/cobertura/

 

Nextel - their coverage isn't as continuous as it looks, especially with 800MHz iDEN sites blasting 1700/2100MHz for HSPA+ and LTE:

DSJKk3C.jpg

 

What will Nextel Mexico do with that low-band spectrum? More band 26 LTE maybe? 

I don't think AT&T has much of a choice. Might as well switch to band 26 LTE in both Mexico and the US to keep phones similar.

 

Telcel, Movistar, and Iusacell all own some 850MHz (band 5 LTE) spectrum, so I doubt they can do more than a 5x5 HSPA+ here. That's important because many Mexicans cannot afford LTE phones yet. Then they'd be able to run 5x5MHz LTE using SMR band 26 LTE. Considering a large percentage of Mexicans (both in the US and Mexico) use their phones as their only or main Internet source, it's imperative for AT&T to have good data (HSPA+ and/or LTE) in low frequency bands for good indoor coverage, unless they want to densify. LTE can't match the coverage of 2G or HSPA+; it's amazing how far Telcel/Movistar 1900MHz signal travels from towers on hills/mountains. Additionally, in Mexico there will be no 700MHz auction - they're building a fourth nationwide LTE network using 90MHz of 700MHz spectrum, which will be wholesale only. So unless they want to use that network for LTE, AT&T will have to use whatever 850/800MHz spectrum they have to power both HSPA+ and LTE.

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...Might as well switch to band 26 LTE in both Mexico and the US to keep phones similar.

...

 

I believe band 26 only applies to rebranded SMR, meaning it's unique to the U.S.

 

Mexico probably uses the entire original SMR band, meaning that band 26 doesn't fully cover it.

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I believe band 26 only applies to rebranded SMR, meaning it's unique to the U.S.

 

Mexico probably uses the entire original SMR band, meaning that band 26 doesn't fully cover it.

Damn, you're right:

http://www.spectrummonitoring.com/frequencies/frequencies2.html#Mexico

 

Additionally that makes it look like Iusacell only owns 850MHz in the southern portion of Mexico, which matches what a Fierce article said. 10x10 and 5x5 PCS, though. Nextel has 15x15 800MHz SMR and 15x15 AWS.

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I believe band 26 only applies to rebranded SMR, meaning it's unique to the U.S.

 

Mexico probably uses the entire original SMR band, meaning that band 26 doesn't fully cover it.

Would that mean they would have to go through the process of another 3GPP band standardization? Or is there already a band assigned to the original SMR spectrum?
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Would that mean they would have to go through the process of another 3GPP band standardization? Or is there already a band assigned to the original SMR spectrum?

Yes, there is already... band 27. However, unlike band 26, it doesn't encompass the cellular band (band 5).

 

Band 27 devices without specific support for band 26 should be able to use band 26 if Sprint deployed MFBI.

Edited by GoWireless
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