America Movil to acquire 5G frequencies in LatAm markets: CEO

Mexican telecom group America Movil plans to invest about $8 billion this year to boost its network infrastructure and acquire additional 5G spectrum in new markets, the company’s CEO Daniel Hajj said during a conference call with investors.

Hajj said that the telco aims to acquire 5G frequencies in countries such as Brazil, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Regarding Mexico, he commented that, although they are interested in the 5G auctions that will probably take place in October, the company already owns frequencies in the 3.5 GHz spectrum in that market.

“In recent years we have been investing in our networks. We have the best networks in Latin America and we are prepared to do 5G,” he said. “I think this year we can launch 5G in some countries, and there are three types of 5G, the DSS, the non-standalone and the standalone and so we are deciding in which frequencies and which 5G we are going to launch and then what the path we’re going to take.”

America Movil added 6.8 million wireless subscribers in the last quarter of 2020, twice as many as in the precedent quarter. They included 2.7 million mobile postpaid subscribers of which almost 2 million subscribers came from Brazil, 223,000 from Peru and 201,000 from Colombia.

In Q4, America Movil’s net profit grew to MXN37.3 billion ($1.8 billion), up almost 80% year-on-year due largely to gains from favorable foreign exchange movements as the Mexican peso strengthened against the U.S. dollar and the euro.

The group’s revenue declined 3% year-on-year MXN255 billion, with the majority of the decline attributed to lower takings from equipment sales.

“Going into the fourth quarter, the economic recovery already underway appeared to be picking up speed throughout most of our region of operations, with confidence levels shooting up in November following the U.S. presidential election and, shortly thereafter, the announcements of the approval of vaccines meant to ward off the COVID 19 virus,” the company said in its earnings statement.

Towers spin-off plan

Hajj also confirmed that the company’s board of directors approved a plan to spin-off the towers from América Móvil in Latin América. “This spin-off will maximize the value of the infrastructure by becoming an independent entity entirely focused on development, construction and co-location of towers for wireless services. We expect to complete the reorganization of assets in 2021,” the telco said.

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