AT&T just expanded its reach in a pretty significant way today — the company has agreed to purchase Mexican wireless carrier Iusacell for $2.5 billion. According to AT&T, this will create the first-ever "North American mobile service," covering 400 million people in the US and Mexico. AT&T will absorb Iusacell's 8.6 million subscribers and the carrier's technology, which currently covers about 70 percent of Mexico's 120 million citizens. AT&T expects the deal to close in early 2015, following approval from Mexico's telecom regulator IFT (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones) and the National Foreign Investments Commission.
Iusacell's network is based on the same GSM technology that AT&T's is based on, though it's only a 3G network — it doesn't sound like the carrier has any LTE footprint thus yet. The Mexican carrier will continue to be headquartered in Mexico City after the deal is complete, so It's not yet clear whether AT&T will rebrand and integrate Iusacell under its own umbrella — but it seems likely that Iusacell's customers will be able to take advantage of AT&T's network in the US, and vice versa.