Telecos and OEM

Millicom Buys Paraguay Cable TV Network

Published on: 16th Jul 2012

­Millicom today announced that it has signed an agreement to buy Cablevisión Paraguay for US$150 million.

Cablevisión Paraguay began offering TV services in Asunción in 1989 and is the leading provider of cable pay-TV services in Paraguay. At te end of last year, it covered 470, 000 households and had 116,000 cable TV customers, with close to 10% of them subscribing to fixed broadband services. Cablevisión Paraguay has exclusive rights to broadcast Paraguay’s soccer championship games.

The offering of high-speed internet access is expected to boost the company’s existing mobile network, Tigo in Paraguay.

Mikael Grahne, CEO, commented: “Today’s acquisition of Cablevisión Paraguay, the leader in Pay TV in Asunción, is in line with our strategy of offering an increasingly rich customer experience through the organic development of innovative Value Added Services and bolt-on acquisitions. For the past 20 years, Paraguay has been a test-bed for us when it comes to offering innovative services. With today’s deal, we aim to accelerate our entry into broadband at home, offering relevant services to customers in the Communication, Information and Entertainment categories. We look forward to welcoming Cablevisión’s Paraguay customers and employees to the Tigo family.”


ZTE Facing US Investigation Over Sales to Iran

China’s ZTE is facing an investigation by American authorities over allegations that it sold embargoed US supplied computer equipment to Iran.

The USA has banned exports of all non-humanitarian goods to Iran as part of its government policy to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.

Earlier this year, ZTE said that it was cutting its deals with Iranian telecoms operators following reports that it has sold surveillance products in the country.

ZTE is now accused of discussing the destruction of documents that proved the company had shipped embargoed US computer goods to the country.

The company has also been under investigation by the US Commerce Department.

In related news, the company also warned that it expects its first half profits to fall by 60-80 percent when finally announced. The company did not cite the FBI investigation, claiming the drop will be due to currency fluctuations and slower domestic sales.



Vodafone and France Telecom Overturn Additional Fees Charged by Spanish Authorities

Published on: 13th Jul 2012

­Vodafone and France Telecom have won a court battle over fees being applied by local government authorities in Spain for the use of mobile network equipment on state-owned property.

The issue centered around whether fees charged by the local governments could be levied on the users of the network infrastructure as well as the owner of the physical equipment. As the networks share base stations or lease from other companies in some situations, they argued that the levy should only apply to the owner of the kit, not the mobile network who then uses it.

Several Spanish municipalities had imposed the fees on mobile telephone companies for the installation, on municipal public land, of the infrastructure necessary for the provision of telecoms services.

At stake was a bill estimated at around US$244 million per year for the mobile networks, and a loss of the same for local governments.

The European Court of Justice ruled that while the municipalities were entitled to impose the fees for the installation of base stations and other equipment, it could only charge the owner of the equipment – not their subsequent users as well.

Where the mobile networks own the the base stations, they will continue to pay fees to the local authorities, but where they lease capacity from a 3rd-party tower owner, they will no longer have to pay additional fees for that service.

The Spanish Supreme Court sent the case to the European Court for a verdict.


IFC Invests in Continental Towers to Enhance Telecoms in Central America

Published on: 13th Jul 2012

­The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a US$120 million financing package for Continental Towers to help the company build and maintain mobile-phone towers across Central America.

IFC’s investment comprises a $40 million loan and an $80 million syndicated loan, with participation from HSBC Bank; Panama’s Banco General; FMO and CIFI. The investment will be used to double the number of towers that Continental Towers operates in Central America, as well as its finance expansion into Nicaragua.

“IFC understands the unique needs of growing companies in Latin America’s telecommunications sector and has provided us with a financing package that will allow us to continue our role as one the leading regional independent tower companies in Latin America,” said Jose Paz, CEO of Continental Towers.

Guatemala’s Continental Towers, established in 2008, also has a presence in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The company expects to double the size of its tower network in the next two years.

Bernard Sheahan, IFC Director of Infrastructure and Natural Resources in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, said, “Broadening access to affordable mobile telecommunications services remains a crucial part of development across Latin America. With this investment, IFC is facilitating access to knowledge, innovation, and improved government and business services that mobile communications can bring.”

Continental Towers leases space on its mobile towers to telecommunications companies. The reduced costs of leasing towers gives smaller companies access to existing facilities and allows larger operators to expand into remote areas that would otherwise be unprofitable. Lower tower costs should result in enhanced service offerings and lower mobile prices for Latin American consumers.

In addition to tower-sharing services for companies, Continental Towers works with local municipalities to use their towers as “Luminarias,” which hold street lights and security cameras to enhance safety. The towers can also provide free local Wi-Fi for communities.



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