Mexican government acquires majority stake in wholesale wireless network

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By Anthony Harrup


MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s government has agreed to take a controlling stake in Altan Redes, a wholesale wireless network company, and will use it to fulfill a promise to expand internet coverage across the country, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Friday.

Altan Redes, which won a concession to build the nationwide network in 2016, filed for bankruptcy in a Mexican court last year. Its creditors included Mexican development banks.

“It was bankrupt. We made the decision to use new funds and now this company, which will allow us to have Internet in every city in the country, belongs to the nation,” said Mr. López Obrador.

In an agreement signed on Thursday, the government has taken majority ownership and management control and will also use the network to provide free internet access in public places like squares, schools and hospitals, he added.

Altan Redes said in a press release that the agreement includes $388 million in debt financing, of which $161 million, or 41%, will come from development banks and the remainder from suppliers, shareholders and customers. The company will remain a public-private partnership, it added.

“This achievement supports the viability of the shared network, a project promoting economic and telecommunications development in Mexico,” the company said.

Network coverage currently reaches 56 markets and 79 million people, as well as more than 108,000 cities with populations under 5,000, Altan added.

The company announced in May that it has 114 customers serving 6 million end users and that at the end of last year it had 67% of the mobile virtual network operator market offering wireless services with leased network capacity.


Write to Anthony Harrup at anthony.harrup@wsj.com

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