27 Oct 2008

Positive numbers from LatAm iDEN group

In a recent post on the prospects for MVNOs in Latin America, I mentioned in passing NII Holdings, ­whose Nextel-branded operations offer mobile services over iDEN networks in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Brazil. I found myself reminiscing about trips to the last two of these countries and observing almost every cab driver I'd encountered using the Push-t0-Talk functionality of their Nextel handsets.

Last week, I was joined here in London by a colleague from our sister company in Sao Paolo, whose team will be more closely involved than in previous years in the research leading to the creation of the conference agenda for our annual Americas Com event in Rio de Janeiro. My Brazilian colleague told me about friends with small businesses, all of whose staff stay in touch via the Nextel PoC (Push-to-Talk over Cellular) service. Her impression, based just on this anecdotal evidence, was of good growth for the iDEN network operator.

I was therefore not too surprised to see pick up on very positive noises coming out of NII Holdings HQ, picked up late last week by a Cellular News story, according to which the company "has reported that for the third quarter, the Company added 394,500 net subscribers, matching the company's quarterly record of net subscriber additions set in the second quarter of 2008, resulting in an ending subscriber base of over 5.8 million subscribers, a 33% increase over the subscriber base reported at the end of the third quarter of 2007."

We usually see a smattering of delegates from the various Nextel operators at Americas Com. At the most recent event, I ran into some folks from the Peruvian operation. We will certainly be inviting the company to share some useful insights at the 2009 conference.