America Movil says major 5G launch on track, optimistic about pay TV in Mexico

The logo of America Movil is pictured on the wall at a reception area in the company's corporate offices, in Mexico City, Mexico January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf/File Photo

MEXICO CITY, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Mexican telecoms giant America Movil expects to launch 5G services in 90% of the countries where it operates this year and is optimistic about pay TV in Mexico despite a setback from the telecoms regulator, company executives said on Wednesday.

"I don't have a specific date, but all over the year we're working on a launch. I hope we can do it in the first semester of this year," said America Movil Chief Executive Officer Daniel Hajj said about 5G on a call with investors.

Colombia is the only country where the company, which is controlled by the family of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, does not yet have spectrum for 5G, executives said.

"We hope that the government would speed up that option," Hajj said.

America Movil operates in at least 10 markets, mainly in Latin America.

The company on Tuesday reported that its fourth-quarter net profit more than tripled from the year-ago period, boosted by its sale of its TracFone wireless unit to Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N). It posted a net profit of 135.6 billion pesos ($6.6 billion), compared with 37.3 billion pesos a year earlier.

The IFT, which is Mexico's telecoms regulator, concluded a vote in January without authorizing a coveted pay TV license to America Movil, a prospect that had rattled competitors.

Executives said on the call they were optimistic about the application's success in the future, but that there was no new timing for a new vote from the IFT.

"It is clear that competition would serve well to consumers and to the sector, and we believe that Claro and America Movil is a clear alternative, so this will have to be determined by the IFT, and we expect hopefully some positive news on that front," a company executive said.

Reporting by Cassandra Garrison Editing by Paul Simao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Mexico-based reporter focusing on climate change and companies with an emphasis on telecoms. Previously based in Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires covering the Argentine debt crisis, the tussle for influence between the United States and China in Latin America and the coronavirus pandemic.