Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) has approved AT&T and America Movil (AM) as the sole participants in an auction of Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) spectrum that is scheduled to commence on February 15. News of the IFT decision came as the FCC closed its filing window Wednesday for existing or prospective wireless carriers to file applications to participate in the forward phase of the upcoming incentive auction, which is slated to begin March 29 with the submission of broadcaster’s bids to surrender their 600 MHz spectrum resources voluntarily to the wireless industry.
AT&T, which is expected to be counted among the FCC incentive auction applicants, entered the Mexican wireless market last year through its acquisition of Nextel Mexico and Iusacell. By the end of 2015, AT&T had reached 44 million potential customers in Mexico through its national 4G LTE network. The company is expected to expand that network to a population of 75 million by the end of this year. AM, meanwhile, outranks AT&T and a third competitor—Telefonica S.A.—as Mexico’s largest wireless carrier with a market share of 68%, although AT&T ranks as the nation’s top holder of AWS spectrum, which is considered highly desirable for the deployment of 4G LTE wireless broadband services.