NII Holdings Gains on Mexican Mobile-Phone License

NII Holdings Inc. (NIHD), operator of the Nextel brand in Latin America, rose to the highest price in five months in Nasdaq trading after getting a license in Mexico to use mobile-phone airwaves won in an auction.

NII rose 18 cents to $42.49 on the Nasdaq Stock Market at 4 p.m. New York time. That was the highest closing price since April 29.

The Mexican government said on Oct. 2 that it awarded Reston, Virginia-based NII and Grupo Televisa SA (TLEVICPO) licenses to use the mobile-phone airwaves they acquired in a July auction. The licenses had been delayed because of legal challenges by another competitor, Grupo Iusacell SA.

Televisa and NII plan to use the airwaves to begin offering third-generation wireless phone services such as video downloads in as soon as 12 months. Larger rivals America Movil SAB (AMXL), Telefonica SA (TEF) and Iusacell already sell 3G services in Mexico.

By winning the licenses, NII has almost satisfied conditions required to get a $1.44 billion investment from Televisa under an agreement reached in February. The accord, which would give Mexico City-based Televisa a 30 percent stake in NII’s Mexico unit, should be finished in the next few days after a review of the closing terms, Gustavo Cantu, vice president of NII’s Mexico unit, said on Oct. 2.

Iusacell will continue to challenge the auction results in court, Salvador Rocha, a lawyer for the closely held company, told reporters today in Mexico City.

Televisa fell 6 centavos to 47.72 pesos in Mexico City trading. The shares have dropped 12 percent this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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