Liberty Latin America adds 1M new customers as part of AT&T acquisition
Liberty Latin America completed its acquisition of AT&T’s wireless and wireline operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands over the weekend, in a deal worth $1.95 billion and that will add more than 1 million wireless subscribers and contracts to the new owner’s footprint.
The deal also includes AT&T’s estimated 1,300 employees; network assets and spectrum; and real estate and leases of towers and other assets.
“We’re very excited to enter the mobile segment in Puerto Rico. Besides enabling us to provide a complete range of fixed and wireless telecommunication services to our customer base, this transaction is a sign of our unwavering commitment to Puerto Rico and the region,” said Liberty Puerto Rico CEO Naji Khoury.
Liberty Puerto Rico and AT&T are now working together on the integration process, which may take up to 36 months to complete. As part of that transition, AT&T will be rebranded as Liberty Mobile, Khoury confirmed.
The transaction now makes Liberty Puerto Rico a four-play company by adding mobile communication services to Liberty’s video, fixed broadband and telephony services. Initially, all of AT&T’s plans will remain the same, but eventually, could be offered as multi-service bundles, Khoury confirmed.
Liberty will maintain network access in the United States, meaning that customers in Puerto Rico and the USVI who travel stateside will automatically connect to AT&T’s network and will not be subject to roaming charges. Khoury said that responds to a multi-year agreement with AT&T.
The company will also support AT&T’s FirstNet program for first responders who, when subscribing to services in Puerto Rico and the USVI will still have access to the benefits and capabilities — including always-on priority and preemption — of the platform.
Liberty Puerto Rico will continue AT&T’s build-out plan in Puerto Rico and the USVI, which Khoury will visit in coming weeks to meet with employees and government officials to convey the message of continuity, he said.
As part of the deal, AT&T will retain DIRECTV and certain unspecified global business customer relationships. The company also said it plans to use the proceeds of the sale to redeem all of the preferred interests in a subsidiary called PR Holdings. AT&T will also continue to “pursue additional non-core asset monetization opportunities,” which means more asset divestitures could be on the horizon.
Another aspect of the transaction was the U.S. Department of Justice’s requirement on Liberty to sell off part of its business customer portfolio to Worldnet Telecommunications. When asked, Khoury said the federal regulator has set a confidentiality clause on the terms of the deal, disallowing the release of information related to the financial terms of the deal, or how many customers will be transferred over.