| LONDON, July 16
LONDON, July 16 Britain's Vodafone said
it was unlikely to be interested in telecom assets being put up
for sale in Mexico by tycoon Carlos Slim's America Movil
since a deal would not fit with its focus on the
corporate market in Latin America.
America Movil has pledged to sell unspecified assets, which
analysts say could include mobile subscribers and spectrum, to
cut its market share in Mexico below 50 percent and escape
Slim said in an interview with Reuters last week that the
group would aim to sell an "attractive" cross-section of the
company to attract a buyer that was not already present in
The announcement has set off speculation as to which global
telecom companies might make a move into Mexico, with analysts
listing AT&T and Vodafone as possible contenders.
Asked if Vodafone was looking at Mexico, Chief Executive
Vittorio Colao told Reuters at an event late on Tuesday: "I
doubt it to be honest; it's not an area we're working on".
"We are going into new areas of the world, but just to serve
our enterprise customers," said Colao, referring to Vodafone's
business selling communication services such as cloud computing
and global mobile plans to multi-national corporations.
Colao said the business model in Vodafone's enterprise unit
was to partner with local carriers in markets where the company
was not present, or to rent space on a local network.
Vodafone, the world's second-largest mobile operator, owns
its own networks across Europe where its biggest market is
Germany, as well as emerging markets, but has not traditionally
been a player in Latin America.
"I have to put my money into India, into Europe and into
Africa. That is where the money is going," said Colao.
In February this year, Vodafone completed the sale of a
stake in U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless for $130 billion,
which has enabled it to return cash to shareholders and invest
in its remaining businesses.
As part of the programme, it has snapped up fixed-line
assets in Spain and Germany to offer more services to customers.
Shares in Vodafone are down 20 percent since the start of
the year due to tough trading in its core markets, waning
speculation that AT&T would consider a bid for the British group
and as investors sold their stock following the return of cash
from the U.S. exit.
In Mexico, America Movil controls some 70 percent of the
mobile market, far ahead of rivals Telefonica and
Iusacell, and also holds 80 percent of the fixed-line business.
(Reporting by Kate Holton; writing by Leila Abboud; editing by