AT&T has formally announced the closure of its Nextel Mexico purchase that it announced in January, shortly after it announced the closure of its first Mexican carrier purchase in Iusacell. The purchase from the bankrupt NII Holdings will allow AT&T to merge the spectrum and other assets that both carriers hold in order to create its long-planned “North American Mobile Service Area” initiative targeting the Mexican diaspora in the US.
The 3G UMTS transition wasn’t the path to success that was expected by Nextel Mexico after Sprint shut down its iDEN network and forced NII to do the same starting in 2011. Since the transition, NII Holdings had been a money-losing venture, not just in Mexico, but in the rest of its Latin American markets, due to the loss of iDEN subscribers that depended on the push-to-talk service to keep in touch with family members in the US and other countries cheaply, compared to conventional options.
AT&T has already added unlimited mobile and landline calling to many of its mobile products as a result of both purchases within the past couple of months and even offers roaming within Mexico on a little-known GoPhone plan specifically aimed at frequent travelers to Mexico. AT&T has yet to make any major changes to Iusacell/Unefon and Nextel Mexico in terms of service plans or rates, and there is currently no word on how the planned North American Mobile Service Area will affect US AT&T customers.