San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Mexican Telecom Giant Buys Out Estesa

Latin America’s largest cell-phone  operator, America Movil, has bought out  Nicaraguan telecommunications firm Estesa Holding Corp, Nicaragua’s cable TV and Internet-service provider, the company said in a statement.

America Movil announced that it has acquired 100 percent of Estesa, though it hasn’t made public the price of the buyout.

The acquisition is the latest by Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim in his push into other Latin American countries, particularly in Central America. His America Movil already provides fixed-line and wireless services in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, with plans to set up shop in Costa Rica and Panama.

America Movil has 165 million wireless subscribers and 3.9 million landlines in the hemisphere, with 8.2 million wireless subscribers and 2.2 million landline users in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The company also recently acquired licenses to operate in Panama and Costa Rica, where the state-run telecom monopoly is opening to private competition.

In Nicaragua, America Movil owns the Enitel fixed-line phone company and Claro wireless company.

As part of the Estesa buyout, America Movil will take over the company’s services and expects to soon offer “triple play” services – high-speed Internet, television and telephone in one broadband connection.

Between cable subscribers and Internet subscribers, Estesa currently has more than 100,000 clients in Nicaragua with 700 kilometers of fiber-optic cable, according to a statement by Estesa partner Invercasa.

America Movil-recently launched the iphone in-Central America, beating its regional rival, the Spanish company Telefonica, which owns Claro’s cellular phone competitor in Nicaragua, Movistar.

Slim, worth an estimated $60 billion, passed Bill Gates this year on Forbes magazine’s ranking of the world’s richest people after his America Movil struck a deal with Yahoo to provide mobile Web service to 16 Latin American countries.

He is now ranked as the world’s secondrichest man, trailing only Warren Buffet, according to Forbes magazine.


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