Investor Alert

Sept. 19, 2011, 2:56 p.m. EDT

NII Holdings makes LatAm marketing push

By Anthony Harrup

MEXICO CITY (MarketWatch) -- NII Holdings Inc. launched Monday a new branding and advertising campaign in Latin America as the mobile phone company seeks to increase its presence in the region and broaden its customer base.

Virginia-based NII, which has 10 million subscribers under the Nextel brand in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru, said its new logo and design aims to unify brand identity across the region and improve customer recognition and loyalty. Along with targeting a wider audience than its current high-end customer base, NII is also remodeling its stores.

NII competes in Latin America with mobile heavyweights America Movil SAB (AMX.MX, AMX), controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, which had 217 million wireless customers in the region at the end of June, and Spain's Telefonica SA (MCE:ES:TEF) , which had 156 million mobile subscribers in the region.

At an event in Mexico City, the company's chief marketing officer, Greg Santoro, declined to put a dollar number on the marketing drive, but said the company expects to double its media presence over the coming quarters.

The new marketing push comes as NII builds its 3G networks in Mexico, Brazil and Chile. The company recently launched 3G service in two cities of central Mexico after acquiring spectrum in a government auction last year, and plans to continue adding locations.

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