América Móvil: 5G deployment, TracFone sale on track

Mexico-based mobile giant América Móvil reported that it added 6 million new wireless subscribers during its most recent quarter, one third more than it did in the year-ago quarter. The company attributed the figures to growth in its businesses in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

The company also said it remains on track to launch 5G across parts of its Latin American footprint this year.

"We are ready to launch 5G in many countries," CEO Daniel Hajj said this week after the company released its quarterly earnings, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of his comments.

In February, América Móvil pledged to spend around $8.5 billion in capital expenditures during 2021 – roughly in line with what it spent last year – in part to begin launching 5G across some of its markets, including Mexico. During the intervening months, the company also scored 400MHz of spectrum in the 26GHz band for 5G in Chile.

However, Hajj said the company's 5G efforts would not involve an overall increase in network spending.

"We have been working to implement 5G virtualizing networks put on fiber in the towers, putting the photonics in the backbone, so a lot of things we have been doing," he said.

Hajj added that América Móvil's sale of its US TracFone business to Verizon remains on track. He said he expects the deal to close in the third quarter of this year. That's roughly in line with the timeline Verizon laid out late last year when it announced the purchase; Verizon at the time said it hoped to close the deal in the second half of 2021.

Although regulators are taking a close look at Verizon's proposed purchase of TracFone, company officials believe the deal will close as expected.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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