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Randall Stephenson Stephenson: another $3 billion to be invested in Mexico.

AT&T to spend $3 bn on mobile network

By 2018, 100 million people will have access to high-speed mobile Internet

The telecommunications giant AT&T today announced plans to offer high-speed mobile Internet service to more than 100 million Mexicans by the end of 2018.

Company chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said US $3 billion will be invested in building the Mexico network and creating “the first-ever North American Mobile Service Area.” That area will cover 400 million people in Mexico and the United States with a seamless network, linking “our two countries’ economies, people and cultures like never before.”

The investment is new money, coming on top of the $4.4 billion AT&T has spent already this year to acquire Mexican mobile providers Iusacell and Nextel México.

The company says the first phase will be completed in the next six months and provide state-of-the-art mobile service to some 40 million people. By the end of 2016 it will reach 75 million people, and by the end of 2018, 100 million.

Stephenson, who met today with President Peña Nieto to advise him of AT&T’s plans, praised the administration’s reforms, saying they have given the firm the ability to invest in “building an advanced mobile network . . . .”

He described the mobile Internet in the U.S. as “an engine of economic growth” and forecast it would do the same for Mexico. “Beyond accelerating economic growth, the mobile Internet is about changing the way people live and work, keeping families better connected, opening up new educational and health care opportunities, and strengthening and empowering communities.”

New plans are coming next month for Mexican customers that will take advantage of the new North American service area, allowing them to use their voice, data and text message plans while in the U.S. They will also be able to use available community minutes to call people in the U.S. who are on the AT&T network.

It will be one phone and one plan covering two countries, the company said.

AT&T is also going to offer billing for Google Play services, where customers with Android devices can download products and have the charges added to their monthly wireless bill.

Also in the works are some community-based initiatives.

• In the coming months it will launch its “It Can Wait” campaign, designed to discourage people from texting and driving, in Mexico City.

• AT&T says it will be the first Mexican carrier to work with the Amber Alert program at the national level. Iusacell, Nextel and Unefon users will receive text messages when a child is reported missing or abducted in their area.

• The company will invest in new learning opportunities for high school students by working with non-profit organizations focused on education.

Stephenson said as well that one of the firm’s goals is to be one of the best employers in Mexico, and it will offer training support and other programs for its staff.

Mexico News Daily

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