* License issuance caps series of legal challenges
* Nextel, Televisa duo will boost competition
(Adds quotes, background)
By Tomas Sarmiento
MEXICO CITY, Oct 2 Mexico's government has
issued a license to Nextel Mexico and partner broadcaster
Televisa that will allow them to deploy a wireless phone
network in the country, officials said on Saturday.
The issuing of the license caps a series of legal disputes
filed by potential competitors and opens the way for more
competition in the country's mobile telephone market dominated
by billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil.
Officials issued the license on Friday, Communications
Minister Juan Molinar told a media conference, where he was
joined by Nextel executives.
"This has been a very important process to incorporate a
large quantity of radio-electric frequencies for third-
generation mobile telephone service," Molinar said.
Nextel Mexico and Televisa (TV.N) (TLVACPO.MX), the world's
largest Spanish-language content producer, won a chunk of
spectrum in a government auction in July but their claim was
challenged in the courts by competitors.
Companies belonging to telephone, media and retail tycoon
Ricardo Salinas filed dozens of lawsuits to try to overturn the
concession. The legal challenges were eventually dismissed by
Nextel Mexico and Televisa offered about $14 million for
the nationwide license, the only bid for that block of the
wireless spectrum. It was the lowest bid allowed by the
auction's rules, causing a stir in the industry. Rivals America
Movil (AMXL.MX) (AMX.N) and Telefonica (TEF.MC) paid $400
million for another portion of the spectrum.
Televisa committed to buy 30 percent of Nextel Mexico, a
unit of NII Holdings (NIHD.O), for $1.44 billion once the
license was granted.
"We hope to soon publicly announce the conclusion of the
transaction with Grupo Televisa," said Gustavo Cantu, Nextel
Mexico's vice president.
The duo plans to develop a 3G data services network across
the country and compete with America Movil and Telefonica.
(Reporting by Tomas Sarmiento; Editing by Peter Cooney)