|Altice raises US$1.8bn in IPO – Dominican R.
European cable and mobile operator Altice, the company which in November acquired Dominican Republic operators Orange Dominicana and Tricom, raised 1.3bn euros (US$1.8bn) in an initial public offering on Friday (Jan 31) on the NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Amsterdam, as the telco pays down its debt and looks for further acquisitions, international press reported.
Altice sold 46.1mn shares at 28.25 euros per share, selling 750mn euros of new shares and a further 550mn euros of existing shares owned by Next, the holding company of founder Patrick Drahi.
European mobile operators are trying to consolidate their operations across Europe and both Liberty Global and Vodafone are said to be mulling an offer for Spanish cable firm Ono, the New York Times reported.
Drahi was said to have told reporters in January that Altice is looking at up to 10 potential acquisitions to expand its business.
In November, Altice announced the US$1.4bn purchase of Orange Dominicana and the US$400mn takeover of 88% of Tricom.
Besides Western Europe (France, Belgium and Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland) and Israel, Altice also operates in the French overseas territories (Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana).
Banco Popular and Orange launch Dominican m-peso mobile wallet – Dominican R.
Mobile operator Orange and Banco Popular Dominicano have launched the first prepaid mobile banking service in the Dominican Republic, called “Orange m-peso,” following an agreement reached between both parties last month, according to a GCS International press statement.
Orange m-peso will allow Dominicans to combine their phone plans with virtual bank accounts, offering financial services catered to the low-income population, encompassing around 72% of Dominicans, or 9.4mn people.
Any level of individual plan, phone model or brand will be able to use the service free of charge. Users will also be able to transfer money to any other user of the service, regardless of where they are in the country.
Orange Dominicana, the local subsidiary of French telco Orange (NYSE: ORAN), will be authorized to carry out transactions as a subagent of Banco Popular. Users will be able to deposit or take out cash from Orange stores upon the service’s activation, and soon afterward from Banco Popular’s network of ATMs.
GCS International designed, developed and implemented the turn-key product, which was launched eight months after regulators published the m-peso framework.
World Bank to provide US$25mn for broadband development in 3 Caribbean nations – Regional
World Bank funding totaling US$25mn will be distributed to three Caribbean nations and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) to bridge gaps in regional broadband communications development, according to local press reports.
Eastern Caribbean nations St. Lucia, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will receive the financing as part of the World Bank-funded Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP).
The project is a collaboration among the region’s nations to fill in gaps in telecommunications infrastructure, such as submarine cable infrastructure and landing stations, domestic backbone networks and national internet exchange points (IXPs), local press reported.
Eventually the project aims to reduce ICT costs to promote social and economic development in the region, as well as streamline and modernize both private sector and government communications.
Paraguay may be next to join South American fiber ring – Regional
Paraguay is likely to be the next country to join the Brazil-championed South American fiber ring. A formal interest in the project was expressed to Brazilian authorities on Thursday (Jan 30) by Paraguay’s communications and public works minister Ramón Jiménez Gaona, Brazilian communications ministry MiniCom reported.
Gaona met his communications counterpart Paulo Bernardo in Brasília. On this occasion, the Paraguayan minister manifested an interest in improving his country’s fiber interconnection with other Southern Cone nations.
According to minister Bernardo, the Brazil-Paraguay interconnection would not demand large amounts of resources nor be essentially complicated to be implemented, as the two countries already have a power transmission line with fiber cables in the binational Itaipu plant.
“We would only need to install the electronics in order to light the fiber up,” the minister said, adding that such works could be carried out in a matter of months.
To date, the most concrete steps for the transnational fiber integration project, which is being carried out under the jurisdiction of Unasul, the Union of South American nations, have been taken with Uruguay.
In June last year, Brazil’s state-run telco Telebras signed a deal with Uruguay’s Antel and inaugurated an interconnection point linking the Brazilian city of Santana do Livramento, near the Uruguayan border, to the Uruguayan city of Rivera.
Telebras’ then president Caio Bonilha told BNamericas last year that Argentina could soon follow as the next axis in the project, citing talks with Argentina’s ArSat. At the time, he also mentioned that Peru had expressed an interest.
Despite being an “obvious” associate of the ring project, Paraguay’s participation was only recently made possible as the country had been suspended from both Unasul and Mercosur after the impeachment of former president Fernando Lugo in 2012.
In a parallel initiative, Telebras signed an MoU on January 14 with communications infrastructure firm Silica Networks for the construction of a fiber optics network connecting Brazil, Chile and Argentina.
BT Global Services posts double digit growth in Latin America in fiscal Q3 – Regional
Telecommunications provider BT Global Services experienced double digit growth in regions including Latin America, Asia and the Middle East during fiscal Q3, ended December 31, CEO Gavin Patterson said in a conference call with investors.
“The high growth regions, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East, recorded double digit growth in the quarter. We recently announced further investments in these areas, hiring over 400 people and launching new capabilities and solutions. Our global customers are expanding into these areas, and we’re helping them to do so,” Patterson said.
BT Global Services, part of the UK’s BT Group, expects Latin America and other emerging markets to represent over 20% of the company’s global revenues by 2015, the company’s VP for Iberia and Latin America, Jacinto Cavestany, previously told BNamericas.
Latin America represented around 5% of BT Global Services’ overall revenues by end 2012, Cavestany said, while the firm’s Brazilian operation represented nearly half of the firm’s regional business at that time.
BT Global Services delivers a wide range of communications and IT services to enterprises, governments and organizations.
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