The company was originally Iusacell, a Joint venture at a rate 50% each, between Grupo Salinas and Grupo Televisa, however, on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, Cofetel temporarily refused to approve a merger between Televisa and Iusacell, with three votes against. The three votes were due to illegal damage to third parties and hindering competition for open and pay television. This refusal continued until 2012 with Televisa and TV Azteca against Grupo Carso. Eventually, the merger was accepted with different conditions, among which allowing any company advertising time without condition, prohibiting the staff of Grupo Televisa and Grupo Salinas from hindering a developing third television network, and if not achieved within two years, dismantle the merge. With 8.2 million users at the time, the company also offered local and long distance service, as well as wireless and fiber optic Internet. Fiber is available only in some neighborhoods of Mexico City and the states of Jalisco and Nuevo León. These services are offered under the brand Iusatel, messaging services (SMS, MMS and email), mobile TV and mobile broadband (with your brand BAM). On Friday November 7, 2014 the US company AT&T announced the acquisition of Iusacell for 2,500 million, including debt.
The company provides cellular services reaching about 90% of Mexico's population, including Mexico City and received more licenses to cover the remaining regions in early 2005. It has more than 5.4 million subscribers (68.6% are prepaid). The company also offers local and long-distance telephony, messaging services, mobile television and wireless broadband services (BAM).
Bell Atlantic (now Verizon Communications) and Vodafone Group together acquired 74.5% of the company in 2001 from the Peralta family, which founded Iusacell in 1987. But following Iusacell's default on debts, the two companies in 2003 sold their stake to Ricardo Salinas Pliego's [email protected] in a deal valued at $7.4 billion.
In June 2003 a [email protected] (Movilaccess) of Grupo Salinas, extended a tender offer to purchase the control of Grupo Iusacell's stock, by the time Grupo Salinas already own a mobile phone company, Unefon, but the other major stock holder of Unefon, Grupo Sada, disagreed in the purchase of Iusacell because of the debt and low profit problems. The former controlling shareholders of Grupo Iusacell (BMV: CEL: Latibex: XCEL), Verizon and Vodafone, agreed to tender the entirety of their stock, which resulted in the acquisition of a majority interest by Grupo Salinas.
In March 2007, Grupo Iusacell agreed to merge with Unefon Holdings, another company of Grupo Salinas. Unefon Holdings is the holding company owner of the capital stock of Unefon, wireless telephony operator focused on Mexico’s mass market. From the integration process, Grupo Iusacell remains as the merging company and Unefon Holdings as merged.
The new company was born with more than 3.4 million subscribers, equivalent to approximately 7% of the wireless telecommunications market in Mexico. The company has national coverage, and integrates the only two providers of wireless telecommunications services in the country using CDMA technology.
Grupo Iusacell, through its two brands, Iusacell and Unefon, was the first wireless cellular service provider in the country with a third-generation platform (3G CDMA EVDO) that gives users access to a wide range of other telecommunications services and multimedia applications, making the cell phone an efficient vehicle for data transmission and value added services besides voice.
On November 15, 2010 Iusacell launched their HSPA+ network with speeds up to 21 Mbit/s. Alike U.S. carrier T-Mobile US, also branded "4G."
In September 2014, it was announced that Grupo Salinas would acquire Televisa's 50 percent stake in Iusacell for a fee of $717 million. On January 8, 2015, Grupo Televisa announced that the sale of its 50 percent stake had been completed.
In November 2014, AT&T announced it would acquire the Mexican wireless company Iusacell for US$2.5 billion from Grupo Salinas. The price includes $800 million in debt. Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T would acquire all of Iusacell wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 8.6 million subscribers. The purchase was completed on January 16, 2015. On January 30, 2015, AT&T announced the purchase of Nextel Mexico for $1,875 million to NII Holdings, this excluding financial debts. The operation was completed and approved by the Federal Telecommunications Institute in Mexico and the Bankruptcy Court District of New York in US on April 30, 2015. AT&T launched several new plans on August 24, 2015 under the AT&T brand and will begin renaming Iusacell and Nextel stores by the end of the year in a process that is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. AT&T’s recently announced that it plans to invest an additional $3 billion in Mexico through 2018 to expand its high-speed mobile broadband coverage to 100 million people, The company currently holds the largest amount of spectrum in the country. While gradually moving the Nextel and Iusacell brands to AT&T premium services, AT&T intends to keep the Unefon brand, which was part of Iusacell, for low-end prepaid users.
On October 3, 2016, AT&T Mexico shutdown their CDMA network in order to make way for LTE services.