Report: América Móvil wants Arsat stake to help it expand Argentina play

By Jim O'Neill on May 23 2016 at 6:30 AM
Report: América Móvil wants Arsat stake to help it expand Argentina play

Argentina’s state-owned communications operator Arsat and Buenos Aires-based cable company TeleCentro could be in play, with published reports saying America Movil is interested in acquiring assets from both companies.

América Móvil chief Carlso Slim reportedly has met with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, shopping for radio spectrum and fiber deployments that span the country.

It’s not the first time Slim has gone cherry picking in Latin America; América Móvil in June said it would invest up to $50 billion in Latin American networking infrastructure.

Móvil operates under the brand of Claro in Argentina. It saw first quarter sales increase some 30%, which could help explain the company’s interest in acquiring – or at least investing in – the network assets. If Móvil were to invest in Arsat – Argentina’s state-run satellite business – it would give Claro expanded access to satellite capacity, helping it to reach more remote areas where fixed broadband penetration is non-existent, or very low.

Published reports indicate Argentina’s government may be a willing seller; Consulting firm McKinsey has said telecom competition could be jump started with a sale of some – or all – of the satellite business.

Despite Móvil presence in the country through its Claro and Telmex Argentina subsidiaries, Argentina’s Broadcast Media and Telecommunications Law currently prevents it from providing provide pay-TV services. A deal for TeleCentro could give it the ability to sell quad-play services in the short term.

AT&T, which bought DirecTV and its sizeable Latin America assets last year, also has plans to expand its investment in the country.

Stay tuned.

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