Televisa Negotiating Alliance with Iusacell

April 2011

MEXICO CITY – Mexican media powerhouse Televisa said it was in talks on a potential wireless venture with Grupo Iusacell, which is controlled by TV Azteca owner Ricardo Salinas Pliego.

“At this time, no agreement has been reached between Televisa and Grupo Iusacell. There can be no assurances that any agreement will be reached, or the timing or terms of any such agreement, if one is reached,” Televisa said in a press release.

The discussions mark Televisa’s second attempt to enter Mexico’s wireless market.

In February 2010, the broadcaster announced that it had agreed to buy a minority stake in NII Holdings’ Nextel de Mexico, although it said the deal was dependent on the success of their joint bid for wireless capacity.

Televisa said at the time that the purchase could allow it to become the first company in Mexico to offer “quadruple play” (fixed and mobile telephony, television and broadband data).

The two companies won a block of spectrum in an auction later that year, but Televisa subsequently reversed its decision to acquire a 30 percent stake in Nextel after other wireless operators, including Grupo Iusacell, challenged the validity of the auction in court.

Televisa and TV Azteca currently are locked in a legal dispute with leading Mexican mobile operator Telcel and the biggest fixed-line provider Telmex, both owned by telecom magnate Carlos Slim.

The two broadcasters are demanding lower rates for connecting to Slim’s vast telecom network while also trying to prevent his companies from entering the pay TV market in Mexico.