The telecommunications business is about to take an unexpected turn in 2015. An industry giant in the United States is preparing its move to fight in one of the most profitable markets anywhere in the world and of which Mexico is not a exception. It is AT&T , the company that just completed the purchase of Iusacell and that just at the beginning of this week announced its plans to also buy Nextel, third and fourth in the mobile telephony market in Mexico, respectively.
And to all this, who exactly is AT&T?
1. A brief account to the company
With roots in Dallas, Texas, their first steps in the telecommunications business date back to 1885 when they operated long distance telephone networks in the United States. However, the first great leap in business was until 1899 when they bought the assets of the American Bell company , one of the strongest telephone companies at that time that was in the hands of none other than Alexander Graham Bell , the man who patented the telephone in America . From this purchase, AT&T was considered a monopoly due to all the companies that American Bell acquired at the time, and that this one took to the stock market.
The history of experience in this business can be seen from its early years, because at the beginning of the 20th century, when the telephone market became extremely competitive, some AT&T executives spread rumors about a bad state of the company , which made the investors put their shares up for sale out of fear of losing money, for which AT&T was the first to raise its hand and buy these shares for a much cheaper price, which quickly positioned the company as the main provider of telephone services in USA. By 1913 they were already a formal monopoly endorsed by the United States government.
2. Your introduction to the computer and cable TV market
By 1982 their telephone monopoly was ended , however they were granted the right to enter the computer business in exchange. This move was a hard blow for the company, as its value fell by 70%, in part because of local subsidiaries that were removed and divided into parts, as well as two new competitors that appeared in the field: MCI and Sprint.
The computer business did not have the expected success, but a new strength emerged, as in their attempt to make it work they hired Michael Armstrong, an IBM executive who as part of his strategy suggested buying assets in the television market by cable. Thanks to this, in the 90s AT&T became the largest television provider in the United States.
In fact, May of this year will mark a year since the purchase of DirecTV by AT&T , which speaks to us of the power of this company in various telecommunications sectors both in the United States and in some regions of Latin America.
3. The origin of the name
The initials of the company are derived from American Telephone and Telegraph – better known as AT&T Corporation -, the name with which it began in 1885, and although the most correct name by which today we can refer to the company is AT&T Inc. , Coined only in 2005 when it was bought by SBC, in practice you will hear of it everywhere simply as AT&T a company that, by the way, is much more than just mobile telephony, for which the AT&T Mobility division was created .
4. Who is AT&T in the United States?
Still headquartered in Dallas, AT&T Inc. is today the second largest wireless phone provider , number one as a landline provider, a strong competitor in cable television, and the third largest company in Texas. , although the first in Dallas.
5. The relationship between AT&T and Carlos Slim
In September 2013 the North American company made clear its desire to reach Latin America, for which it would work with Carlos Slim’s América Móvil, however things began to get tense when AT&T made public its wishes to buy DirecTV, since this company is owner of almost half of Sky de México, a company of which Televisa is a partner, one of Carlos Slim’s rivals in this story.
After this event AT&T had no alternative but to sell its stake in América Móvil –which by the way returned to Slim, since he bought it through Inmobiliaria Carso–; On the one hand, this would give it greater financial liquidity to cover the expenses of the DirecTV purchase, at the same time that it separated them from any relationship to be able to act independently in the business. So today, AT&T does not owe América Móvil anything and vice versa; they went from being partners to contenders.
6. AT&T vs América Móvil
Still one of the strongest companies in America, there are several reasons why Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T CEO, is not richer than Carlos Slim.
According to reports 2014 America Movil -Division belongs to which Telcel and is in the position number 5 of the mobile phone companies worldwide thanks to 286.8 million users spread across all countries in which it has presence, both as Telcel, and under the name of Claro. The countries where Slim has a presence in this market are: Mexico, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, United States and Uruguay as well as the United States Virgin Islands.
On the other hand, and far below, is AT&T Mobility – AT & T’s mobile division – up to 20th place on this list with only 120.6 million users spread across the United States, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.
7. What does AT&T have to offer the Mexican market?
There is no doubt that the antecedents are interesting to know who exactly is entering the country, but as users what interests us most is the present and what they can contribute to the panorama of our right to decide how and in what we invest our money. Given that the North American company has not yet given a specific statement on what the merger with the companies in Mexico will be like and what we can expect from them specifically , the only thing I can offer at the moment is a projection based on the service it has provided in the United States. United.
Let’s start with the fact that according to its own fundamentals, AT&T promises the strongest 4G LTE signal in your country . To do this, they implement a technology that includes HSPA + with optimized blackhaul and LTE, to improve upload and download speed. According to their statements, AT&T is the only network that offers these two layers of technology, so that being inside or outside the 4G LTE coverage area, all users can enjoy a faster browsing speed than the competition. .
Being one of the main mobile phone providers in the United States, the range of terminals they offer, in combination with their plans, is always state-of-the-art. This is an extremely important point for the Mexican market, which is always looking for the latest models launched by brands – both high-end and mid-range and low-end – and that until now only Telcel has been able to offer. This is precisely the reason why Virgin Mobile made a lot of noise upon arrival in the country and in practice they fell short. People want competitive prices, but they also look for the best in technology, hence a company that only focuses on providing telephony services has no future.
For this, AT&T offers in the United States not only next-generation smartphones, but also tablets, fitness bands and other wearables. Without a doubt, it is a company that has the ability to bring equipment at competitive prices with or without a contract.
And last but not least, there is the variety of plans that it arrives with, which in the United States have been very attractive thanks to the variety. In its catalog we find plans that do not need an annual contract, or deposits, and still have access to 4G phones; plans that allow you to share the internet of your plan; plans that allow you to use the internet that you did not use in your next month without it expiring and of course equipment at no cost in 2-year contracts. Many of the options mentioned are already implemented in Mexico by current companies including Iusacell and Nextel, hence the great challenge of making them work now and those that previously occupied third and fourth place, now rise to a powerful second, or perhaps , a new number one, a very difficult task that can take several years,