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America Movil ready for 5G in Mexico, expects close of Tracfone sale

America Movil says ready to launch 5G in Mexico; plans to sell Tracfone this year
America Movil says ready to launch 5G in Mexico; plans to sell Tracfone this year   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  
By Reuters

<div> <p>By Cassandra Garrison</p> <p><span class="caps">MEXICO</span> <span class="caps">CITY</span> – Mexican telecommunications company America Movil said on Wednesday it was “ready” to launch a 5G market in Mexico and it expects to close a deal to sell its Tracfone unit by year-end.</p> <p>Verizon said last year it would buy prepaid mobile phone provider Tracfone, a unit of America Movil that serves about 21 million customers, in a more than $6 billion acquisition. The attorneys general of 16 U.S. states and the District of Columbia urged the <span class="caps">FCC</span> to thoroughly investigate the deal. </p> <p>“We think we can close the Tracfone transaction before year-end,” said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Hajj. </p> <p>Executives were speaking in a call with analysts on Wednesday after the company on Tuesday reported a 16% drop in third-quarter net profit in part due to foreign exchange pressures, but posted strong gains in wireless subscribers. </p> <p>America Movil, controlled by the family of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, said a global chip shortage that hit automakers and tech companies had contributed to a lack of mid- to lower-price point mobile handsets for Tracfone. </p> <p>“We don’t have enough handsets to sell,” Hajj said.</p> <p>Tracfone is one of the largest providers of telecommunications services under a U.S. government subsidy program known as Lifeline that caters to low-income subscribers. </p> <p>The company said it was “ready to launch 5G in Mexico,” but did not offer a time frame.</p> <p>“We do everything to be ready for 5G, we still don’t know exactly when we’re going to launch, but we are ready to launch 5G in Mexico. We have a good network,” Hajj said.</p> <p>America Movil said in September it would sell 100% of its Claro Panama unit to Cable & Wireless Panama, a unit of Liberty Latin America. Hajj said the decision was due to Panama’s market being “not that big a space for us to grow.”</p> <p>The company said it did not anticipate any issues over regulatory approvals for a second deal in which it will combine Chilean operations with Liberty Latin America to form a joint venture. </p> <p/> </div>