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Nextel launches 3G network in Mexico, covering 34 cities

The Nextel‘s 3G network has come to Mexico. Nextel, which is the NII Holdings brand in Latin America, announced the launch of its new 3G network yesterday, Sept. 26. Initially, it will be available in 34 cities, including Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla and Cancun. A second phase expansion, which is expected to cover all major Mexican cities, is scheduled to begin in 2013.

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Nextel said the new network will provide a full array of wireless products and services, including push-to-talk (PTT) service and high-speed data capabilities. It remains to be seen if the company will be able to resume sales and compete in the Mexican market, which is dominated by América Móvil’s Claro.

According to latest data from the Telecommunications Sector Production Index (ITEL) and Federal Commission of Telecommunications (Cofetel), Mexico’s telecommunications sector grew 14.8% during the second quarter of 2012 over the same period of 2011. Mobile subscribers totaled 97,629,506 last June, of which 14,813,961 were postpaid and 82,815,545 were prepaid.

Greg Santoro, NII’s executive vice president and chief marketing and strategy officer, said the deployment of this new network further solidifies Nextel’s position in one of its most important markets. Santoro added that the launch shows the operator’s strong commitment to delivering high quality wireless products and services with unparalleled customer service. Peter Foyo, president of Nextel Mexico, said the launch was a milestone for employees and customers.

In a statement, Nextel said the development and launch of next generation solutions in Mexico was made possible by the company’s strong relationships with a number of key technology partners, including Motorola Mobility, RIM and Huawei. The new high performance PTT service is powered by the QChat® platform supplied by Qualcomm Incorporated.

Next step: Brazil

Peru was the first Latin American country where Nextel launched PTT using a W-CDMA network. The company has also  launched its push-to-talk services over its new 3G network in Chile last August, after announcing 3G voice and data services in May.

The launch in Latin America’s biggest market, Brazil, is expected to happen before December this year. The company confirmed to RCR Wireless News that  it plans to start marketing its 3G later this year, and it has already fulfilled the regulatory requirements in Brazil. Further details, such as the exact date of launch, plans and initial cities, have not yet been released.

Earlier this year, many financial analysts noted that Nextel’s 3G plans could cause the carrier to become lost in a sea of rival 3G operators that have already launched commercial services. Nextel’s unique push-to-talk service could also suffer, since it is already struggling from a lack of compelling devices geared toward an increasingly smartphone-savvy public.

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