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Seeking Alpha, USA, August 28, 2008

America Movil: Latin American iPhone Rollout Should Propel New Highs

By Irwin Greenstein

Soaring sales of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 3G in Latin America reveal an investment opportunity with one of the most overlooked telecom providers in the world. America Movil (AMX) already has a waiting list of consumers waiting to buy the Apple iPhone 3G — indicating that strong future sales could propel the Latin American carrier to new highs.

Along with competitor Telefonica SA in Argentina, the iPhone 3G has amassed a backlog of 50,000 eager consumers. The Mexico City-based America Movil began selling the sizzling gizmo in Mexico on July 11 — contributing to this enormous backlog in a matter of days. Now the company is engaged in a regional rollout that may restore the stock its previous luster.

America Movil recently rolled out the iPhone 3G Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and six other countries. The numbers have not come out yet, but we believe the potential is strong — making the company a potential long-term play.

America Movil has only risen 1.4% since the July 11th Latin debut of the iPhone 3G. But the company has outperformed the Mexican Stock Exchange’s IPC index of leading issues, which declined 5.58% during the same period. However, over the past five years the stock has skyrocketed 616%.

Currently, with stock trading just south of $50.00, the price remains on the low end of its 52-week range of $47.08 and $69.15. But that could easily change for the better.

“As from 2010…a possible reduction in the cost of handsets will provide the value added services (VAS) offering with a new dynamic in the region’s most developed markets: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela,” Argentina-based Signals Telecom Consulting told the Latin Business Chronicle on August 18th.

As a result, 3G service revenues should reach more than $5 billion in 2010 and jump to $36 billion in 2013, Signals forecasts. That compares with less than a $1 billion today.

Argentina, Uruguay and El Salvador have Latin America’s highest wireless penetration rates, so products like the iPhone will help operators get new business from existing clients, reported the Latin Business Chronicle.

America Movil is ideally positioned to cash in the market forces driving wireless communications in Latin America. As of As of December 31, 2007, the company had approximately 153.4 million subscribers in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, the Caribbean, the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Jamaica.

The potential of America Movil follows the pattern of our so-called Cell Phone Index.

As emerging economies come into their own, one of the first improvements you’ll see is a new communications system.

We reported that the biggest growth of emerging-market cell phones was seen in Latin America where sales increased 28.4% compared with Q1 2007.

Given the pent up demand for the iPhone 3G in Latin America, we have every reason to believe that America Movil could rebound to its previous 52-week high over the coming 12 months.

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