Televisa-Nextel dissolve consortium

In a major setback to the Government’s tortured attempt to create a new strong player in the telecommunications sector, Televisa and Nextel announced that Televisa was backing out of the agreement to invest US$ 1.44 billion in Nextel in order to fund the buildout of a nationwide 3G mobile network. Their consortium was the winner of the controversial wireless spectrum auction 21,  which was specifically structured by the Government to make it practically impossible for the existing holders of large nationwide blocs of spectrum (Carlos Slim’s Telcel, Telefonica, and and Ricardo Salinas’ Iusacell-Unefon) to enter bids. The spectrum was awarded with the affirmative vote of only two of the five Cofetel commissioners, and the entire process has been challenged in the courts  by Grupo Salinas, which has filed more than 70 lawsuits seeking to block the award. On his Twitter account, Emilio Azcárraga Jean, the CEO of Televisa, said simply, “We have to take decisions every day, and I believe that we are taking the best decision for us.” Nextel, which was actually awarded the spectrum, has said it intends to go forward. (Reforma 10/18, Universal 10/18)

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