América Móvil shareholders on Friday approved a plan to spin off the company's wireless tower assets into a new company called Telesites. The new firm will lease space on the 10,800 towers it controls to competitors of América Móvil, as most of the towers can support equipment from multiple carriers. However, as the Wall Street Journal notes, initially the towers will only host América Móvil's own wireless unit Telcel, which is the dominant mobile operator in Mexico with 71 million subscribers and around 70 percent market share.
The spinoff comes amid pressure from Mexican regulators for billionaire Carlos Slim, who controls América Móvil, to sell off assets owned by the company. Telesites faces the same regulations that apply to América Móvil in terms of access and infrastructure sharing, and regulators can set rates Telesites charges to carriers if the firm cannot reach deals with operators, the Journal notes.
AT&T (NYSE: T) has been pushing into Mexico via its acquisition of wireless carrier Iusacell and its planned deal to buy the wireless assets of NII Holdings' Nextel Mexico business. AT&T declined to comment on whether it would consider leasing space from Telesites, according to the WSJ. Article (sub. req.)