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NIHD > SEC Filings for NIHD > Form 10-K on 23-Feb-2012All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-K for NII HOLDINGS INC


23-Feb-2012

Annual Report


Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and
Results of Operations

              INDEX TO MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
             OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Forward Looking Statements                                            37
Introduction                                                          38
A. Executive Overview                                                 38
B. Results of Operations                                              45
1. Year Ended December 31, 2011 vs. Year Ended December 31, 2010      47
a. Consolidated                                                       47
b. Nextel Brazil                                                      50
c. Nextel Mexico                                                      52
d. Nextel Argentina                                                   53
e. Nextel Peru                                                        54
f. Corporate and other                                                55
2. Year Ended December 31, 2010 vs. Year Ended December 31, 2009      56
a. Consolidated                                                       56
b. Nextel Brazil                                                      58
c. Nextel Mexico                                                      59
d. Nextel Argentina                                                   60
e. Nextel Peru                                                        61
f. Corporate and other                                                61
C. Liquidity and Capital Resources                                    62
D. Future Capital Needs and Resources                                 63
E. Effect of Inflation and Foreign Currency Exchange                  67
F. Effect of New Accounting Standards                                 67

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk 67


Forward-Looking Statements
We include certain estimates, projections and other forward-looking statements in our annual, quarterly and current reports, as well as in other publicly available material. Statements regarding expectations, including forecasts regarding operating results and performance assumptions and estimates relating to capital requirements, as well as other statements that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements.
These statements reflect management's judgments based on currently available information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. With respect to these forward-looking statements, management has made assumptions regarding, among other things, customer and network usage, customer growth and retention, pricing, operating costs, the timing of various events, the economic and regulatory environment and the foreign currency exchange rates of currencies in the countries in which our operating companies conduct business relative to the U.S. dollar.
Future performance cannot be assured. Actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Some factors that could cause actual results to differ include:
• our ability to attract and retain customers;

• our ability to meet the operating goals established by our business plan;

• general economic conditions in the United States or in Latin America and in the market segments that we are targeting for our services, including the impact of the current uncertainties in global economic conditions;

• the political and social conditions in the countries in which we operate, including political instability, which may affect the economies of our markets and the regulatory schemes in these countries;

• the impact of foreign currency exchange rate volatility in our markets when compared to the U.S. dollar and related currency depreciation in countries in which our operating companies conduct business;

• our ability to access sufficient debt or equity capital to meet any future operating and financial needs;

• reasonable access to and the successful performance of the technology being deployed in our service areas, and improvements thereon, including technology deployed in connection with the introduction of digital two-way mobile data or internet connectivity services in our markets;

• the availability of adequate quantities of system infrastructure and subscriber equipment and components at reasonable pricing to meet our service deployment and marketing plans and customer demand;

• Motorola's ability and willingness to provide handsets and related equipment and software applications or to develop new technologies or features for us for use on our iDEN network, including the timely development and availability of new handsets with expanded applications and features;

• the risk of deploying new third generation networks, including the potential need for additional funding to support that deployment, the risk that new services supported by the new networks will not attract enough subscribers to support the related costs of deploying or operating the new networks, the need to significantly increase our employee base and the potential distraction of management;

• our ability to successfully scale our billing, collection, customer care and similar back-office operations to keep pace with customer growth, increased system usage rates and growth or to successfully deploy new systems that support those functions;

• the success of efforts to improve and satisfactorily address any issues relating to our network performance;

• future legislation or regulatory actions relating to our SMR services, other wireless communications services or telecommunications generally and the costs and/or potential customer impacts of compliance with regulatory mandates;

• the ability to achieve and maintain market penetration and average subscriber revenue levels sufficient to provide financial viability to our network business;

• the quality and price of similar or comparable wireless communications services offered or to be offered by our competitors, including providers of cellular services and personal communications services;

• market acceptance of our new service offerings;

• equipment failure, natural disasters, terrorist acts or other breaches of network or information technology security; and

• other risks and uncertainties described in this annual report on Form 10-K, including in Part I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors," and in our other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


The words "may," "could," "estimate," "project," "forecast," "intend," "expect," "believe," "target," "plan," "providing guidance" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are found throughout this Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and elsewhere in this report. The reader should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this report. Except as otherwise provided by law, we are not obligated to publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this report, including unforeseen events.

Introduction
The following is a discussion and analysis of:
• our consolidated financial condition for the years ended December 31, 2011 and 2010 and our consolidated results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009; and

• significant factors which we believe could affect our prospective financial condition and results of operations.

Historical results may not indicate future performance. See "Item 1A. - Risk Factors" for risks and uncertainties that may impact our future performance. We refer to our operating companies by the countries in which they operate, such as Nextel Brazil, Nextel Mexico, Nextel Argentina, Nextel Peru and Nextel Chile.
A. Executive Overview Business Overview We provide wireless communication services under the NextelTM brand, primarily targeted at meeting the needs of customers who use our services to improve the productivity of their businesses and customers who make the individual decision to use our service for both professional and personal needs. Our customers generally value our broad set of value-added services, including our Nextel Direct Connect® feature, and our high level of customer service. As we deploy our third generation networks using wideband code division multiple access, or WCDMA, technology in our markets, we plan to extend our target market to include additional business customers and high-value consumers who exhibit above average usage, revenue and loyalty characteristics and who we believe will be attracted to the services supported by our new networks and the quality of our customer service. We provide our services through operating companies located in selected Latin American markets, with our principal operations located in major business centers and related transportation corridors of Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Chile. We provide our services in major urban and suburban centers with high population densities where we believe there is a concentration of the country's business users and economic activity. We believe that the growing economic base, increase in the middle and upper classes, lower wireline service penetration and the expanded coverage of wireless networks in these business centers encourage the use of the mobile wireless communications services that we offer and plan to offer in the future. Our new WCDMA-based networks are expected to serve these major business centers and a broader geographic area in order to reach more potential customers and to meet the requirements of our spectrum licenses. Our original networks utilize integrated digital enhanced network, or iDEN, technology developed by Motorola, Inc. to provide our mobile services on our 800 MHz spectrum holdings in all of our markets. Our current and planned third generation networks will utilize WCDMA technology, which is a standards-based technology that is being deployed by carriers throughout the world. These technologies allow us to use our spectrum efficiently and offer multiple wireless services integrated into a variety of handset and data devices. The services we currently offer include:
• mobile telephone service;

• Nextel Direct Connect® and International Direct Connect® service, which allows subscribers to talk to each other instantly, on a "push-to-talk" basis, for private one-to-one calls or group calls;

• value-added services, including text messaging services; mobile internet services; e-mail services; location-based services, which include the use of Global Positioning System, or GPS, technologies; digital media services; and a wide ranging set of applications available via our content management system, as well as the Android open application market;

• business solutions, such as security, work force management, logistics support and other applications that help our business customers improve their productivity; and

• international roaming services.


We commercially launched our new WCDMA-based network in Peru in 2010 and are currently in the process of designing and building new WCDMA networks in Brazil, Chile and Mexico. We expect to begin offering services supported by these new networks in 2012.
Our goal is to generate increased revenues and grow our subscriber base by providing differentiated wireless communications services that are valued by our customers while improving our profitability and cash flow over the long term. Our strategy for achieving this goal is based on several core principles, including:
• focusing on higher value customer segments such as segments that comprise the small, medium and large business markets, as well as certain targeted consumer market segments that value our differentiated wireless communications services;

• offering a broad array of differentiated services and devices that build upon and complement our Nextel Direct Connect® service, the long range walkie-talkie service that allows instantaneous communication at the touch of a button;

• building on the strength of the unique positioning of the Nextel brand;

• capitalizing on the effectiveness and efficiency of our focused and dedicated distribution channels; and

• offering a superior customer experience.

In pursuit of this goal, we will expand our distribution and service channels to create more accessible and efficient ways for our customers to purchase our services and utilize our customer support teams.
We may also explore financially attractive opportunities to expand our network coverage in areas that we do not currently serve or plan to serve, for example by participating in the spectrum auction that is expected to be conducted in Argentina in 2012.
We believe that the wireless communications industry in the markets in which we operate has been and will continue to be highly competitive on the basis of price, the types of services offered, the diversity of handsets offered, speed of data access and the quality of service. In each of our markets, we compete with at least two large, well-capitalized competitors with substantial financial and other resources. Our competitors typically have more extensive distribution channels than ours or are able to use their scale advantages to acquire subscribers at a lower cost than we can, and most of them have implemented network technology upgrades that support high speed internet access and video telephony services. Some of these competitors also have the ability to offer bundled telecommunications services that include local, long distance, subscription television and data services, and can offer a larger variety of handsets with a wide range of prices, brands and features. In addition, the financial strength and operating scale of some of these competitors allows them to offer aggressive pricing plans, including those targeted at attracting our existing customers.
We compete with other communications service providers, including other wireless communications companies and wireline telephone companies, based primarily on our high quality customer service and differentiated wireless service offerings and products, including our Direct Connect services that make it easier for our customers to communicate quickly and efficiently. Historically, our largest competitors have focused their marketing efforts on customers in the mass market retail and consumer segments who purchase services largely on the basis of price rather than quality of service, but recently those competitors have placed more emphasis on attracting postpaid customers within our target segments, which are considered the premium customer segments in our markets because they typically generate higher average monthly revenue per subscriber. Although competitive pricing of services and the variety and pricing of handsets are often important factors in a customer's decision making process, we believe that the users who primarily make up our targeted customer base are also likely to base their purchase decisions on quality of service and customer support, as well as on the availability of differentiated features and services, like our Direct Connect services, that make it easier for them to communicate quickly, efficiently and economically.
We have implemented a strategy that we believe will position us to achieve our long-term goal of generating profitable growth. Some of the key components of that strategy are as follows:
Targeting High Value Customers. Our main focus is on high value customer segments such as segments that comprise the small, medium and large business markets, as well as certain targeted consumer market segments that value our differentiated wireless communications services, including our Direct Connect feature and our high level of customer service. As we deploy our planned WCDMA-based networks, we plan to extend our target market to additional corporate customers and high-value consumers who exhibit above average usage, revenue and loyalty characteristics and who we believe will be attracted to the services supported by our new networks and the quality of our customer service. Providing Differentiated Services. We differentiate ourselves from our competitors by offering unique services like our "push-to-talk" service, which we refer to as Direct Connect. This service, which is available throughout our service areas, provides significant value to our customers by allowing instantaneous communication at the touch of a button and the ability to communicate on a one-to-many basis. In 2011, we launched Direct Connect services utilizing our new WCDMA network in Peru as part of our effort to maintain this key point of differentiation as we offer services on our new networks. Our competitors have introduced


competitive push-to-talk over cellular products, and while we do not believe that these services offer the same level of performance as our Direct Connect service in terms of latency, quality, reliability or ease of use, our competitors could deploy new or upgraded technologies in their networks that could enable them to implement new features and services that compete more effectively with our Direct Connect service. We add further value by designing customized business solutions that enhance the productivity of our customers based on their individualized business needs. These business solutions include fleet and workforce management services that utilize the unique capabilities of our data network, such as vehicle and delivery tracking, GPS technology, order entry processing and workforce monitoring applications.
Building on the Strength of the Nextel Brand. Since 2002, we have offered services under the Nextel brand. As a result of our efforts, the Nextel brand is recognized across our markets as standing for both quality of service and the differentiated services and customer support we provide. This positioning of our brand allowed us to successfully build our subscriber base of high value customers who are attracted to our differentiated services and our reputation for providing a high quality customer experience. To expand the value of that positioning, in 2011 we launched a new brand identity in each of our markets and at the corporate level, which we believe will enhance the recognition of our brand and unify our brand identity across our markets as we seek to expand our target market to include new customer segments.
Capitalizing on our Distribution Channels. We use a variety of distribution channels that include direct sales representatives, indirect sales agents, retail stores and kiosks, and other customer-convenient sales channels such as online purchasing, and we are targeting those channels at specific customer segments to deliver our service more efficiently and economically. Our direct sales channel primarily focuses on businesses that value our industry expertise and differentiated services, including our ability to design customized business solutions that meet their specific business needs. As we extend our target market to include more high-value consumers, we are expanding our distribution channels to make our services more widely accessible. Our distribution channel expansion will include more retail points-of-sales, or POS, including new Nextel stores that will provide not only sales, but also serve as additional points of customer care, collections and brand promotion. We are also expanding our other customer-convenient channels, which include telesales and online channels, to give our prospective and existing customers easier ways to purchase our services. We are making these investments to more efficiently serve our customers and improve the overall productivity of all of our distribution channels, and we expect to see our average sales and related costs to acquire customers decline over time.
Delivering a Superior Customer Experience. In addition to our unique service offerings, we seek to further differentiate ourselves by providing a higher level of customer service than our competitors. We work proactively with our customers to match them with service plans that offer greater value based on the customer's usage patterns. After analyzing customer usage and expense data, we strive to minimize a customer's per minute costs while increasing overall usage of our array of services, thereby providing higher value to our customers while increasing our monthly revenues. This goal is also furthered by our efforts during and after the sales process to educate customers about our services, multi-function handsets and rate plans. We have also implemented proactive customer retention programs in an effort to increase customer satisfaction and retention. In addition, we are currently making investments to improve the quality and scalability of our customer relationship management systems as part of our ongoing effort to provide a simple, reliable and superior customer service to our growing customer base.
Focusing on Major Business Centers. Because we target high value customers, our operations have focused primarily on large urban markets, which have a concentration of medium to high usage business customers and consumers and account for a high proportion of total economic activity in each of their respective countries. We believe these markets offer favorable long-term growth prospects for our wireless communications services while offering the cost benefits associated with providing services in more concentrated population centers. Our new WCDMA-based networks are expected to serve both these major business centers and a broader geographic area in order to reach more potential customers and to meet the requirements of our spectrum licenses. We may also consider selectively expanding into other Latin American countries where we do not currently operate.

Deploying our New Networks. Another key component in our overall strategy is to continue to expand and improve the innovative and differentiated services we offer, which requires that we continue to invest in, evaluate and, if appropriate, deploy new services and enhancements to our existing services. To support this effort, we have acquired additional spectrum rights and are deploying our new WCDMA-based networks that will enable us to offer a wider variety of applications and services, particularly applications and services that are supported by high speed internet access. Use of the WCDMA technology will also increase our network capacity and will reduce the cost of supporting the services we offer when compared to second generation and other prior technologies. These new networks will allow us to continue to offer the differentiated services that our current customers rely on while using the new handsets and devices, service offerings, applications and pricing plans made possible by the new networks to target an expanded customer base.
During 2009 and 2010, we participated in spectrum auctions in Chile, Mexico and Brazil in order to acquire spectrum required to support our planned next generation networks. We began offering services on our new network in Peru in 2010 and are currently in the process of building our WCDMA-based networks in Brazil, Chile and Mexico using spectrum licensed to us. We plan to begin offering services supported by these networks in Brazil, Mexico and Chile in 2012. In addition, the Argentine government has announced plans to hold an auction of spectrum that would support a next generation network in 2012, and we have notified the government of our interest in participating in this auction.


The following chart details our current material next generation spectrum holdings in each of our markets.

   Country         Spectrum Band                     Amount/Coverage
   Brazil         1.9 GHz/2.1 GHz       20 MHz in 11 of 13 regions (includes all
                                                major metropolitan areas)
   Mexico         1.7 GHz/2.1 GHz                   30 MHz nationwide
    Peru              1.9 GHz                       35 MHz nationwide
    Chile         1.7 GHz/2.1 GHz                   60 MHz nationwide

In the future, we expect to pursue opportunities to acquire additional next generation spectrum in our current markets and may consider acquiring spectrum in new markets in appropriate circumstances. Our decision whether to acquire rights to use additional spectrum would likely be affected by a number of factors, including the spectrum bands available for purchase, the expected cost of acquiring that spectrum and the availability and terms of any financing that we would be required to raise in order to acquire the spectrum and build the networks that will provide services that use that spectrum.
Additionally, we have significant spectrum holdings in the 800 MHz specialized mobile radio, or SMR, spectrum band that support our iDEN networks. Our 800 MHz holdings in each of our markets are as follows:

 Country              Amount/Coverage (1)
 Brazil       15 MHz nationwide weighted average
 Mexico       20 MHz nationwide weighted average
Argentina   20 - 22 MHz nationwide weighted average
  Peru        22 MHz nationwide weighted average
  Chile       15 MHz nationwide weighted average


_______________________________________


(1) Weighted average coverage is a function of the population in each country, as well as the amount of spectrum. Spectrum amounts vary greatly across regions and cities. As we make the transition from our iDEN networks to our new WCDMA-based networks, we will evaluate ways in which we can use our 800 MHz spectrum to support existing or new services. In Brazil and Argentina, our current 800 MHz spectrum holdings are largely contiguous, making it possible to use that spectrum to support future technologies if certain technical, operational and regulatory requirements are met, including, for example, the availability of compatible network and subscriber equipment. The availability of that equipment will likely depend upon a number of things, including the actions of technology standards bodies, the technology decisions made by other wireless carriers, and the willingness of infrastructure and device manufacturers to produce the required equipment. In Mexico, Chile and Peru, our 800 MHz spectrum is non-contiguous and would not be expected to support the deployment of future technologies until a reconfiguration of the spectrum band to create contiguous spectrum is completed. It is likely that the implementation of such a reconfiguration would require support from and actions by the regulators in those markets to be effective. Preserving the iDEN Opportunity. The iDEN networks that we operate allow us to offer differentiated services like Direct Connect and International Direct Connect while offering high quality voice telephony and other innovative services. The iDEN technology is unique in that it is the only widespread, commercially available technology that operates on non-contiguous spectrum, which is important to us because much of the spectrum that our operating companies currently utilize in each of the markets we serve is non-contiguous. Because Motorola is the sole supplier of iDEN technology, we are dependent on Motorola's support of the evolution of the iDEN technology and of the development of new features, functionality and handset models. In the past, Sprint Nextel was one of the largest purchasers of iDEN technology and provided significant support with respect to new product development for that technology. Sprint Nextel is expected to decommission its iDEN network over the next several . . .
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