June 17, 2020 / 5:42 PM / 2 months ago

Walmart's Mexico unit rolls out mobile phone service

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Walmart’s Mexican unit has launched a mobile phone service available throughout the country, the retailer said on Wednesday.

Called “Bodega Aurrera Internet y Telefonia,” or BAIT, the service offering prepaid calls and internet usage is available at Bodega Aurrera, Mi Bodega and Walmart store formats. Mexican media first reported on BAIT’s availability in April.

Walmart de Mexico, known as Walmex (WALMEX.MX), said in a statement that the offering is meant to help populations in rural areas, and that shoppers at its stores would receive additional “megas” of data usage.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has made a push to expand rural coverage during his administration.

The move comes after Mexican broadcaster Televisa TLVACPO.MX this month launched its own mobile phone service in a bid to challenge billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil, which has long dominated the country’s telecommunications market.

Walmex is paying Mexican telecommunications firm Rocketel to host the service, according to Rocketel’s website. The service uses space on Mexico’s wholesale telecom network, operated by Altan Redes, Rocketel said.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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