CALA news

A roundup of tower news across Central and Latin America

Argentina: Cablevision-Telecom Argentina merger gets conditional green light 

The Comisión Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia (CNDC) has approved the merger between the two entities but set several conditions including the divestment of 143,464 customers by the merged entity across five provinces (Cordoba, Buenos Aires, Entre Rios, Misiones and Santa Fe). Additionally, the merged company must return an 80MHz block of spectrum to comply with the set spectrum cap as well as offer wholesale broadband connectivity to other operators. 

Argentina: Telecom Argentina delays investments amid economic crisis

Reuters reported that Telecom Argentina intends to delay its US$5bn investment plan as a consequence of the currency crisis faced by the Argentine peso. In 2018, the peso has lost approximately 50% value against the US Dollar. Despite the recent approval of a Stand-By Arrangement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the agency now expects the current Argentinian recession to be worse than originally forecasted.

Argentina: Telecom Argentina lands US$500mn loan 

The telecom Argentinian leader has recently obtained a loan that aims to reduce its debt and all associated debt cost that the company is currently facing. Telecom is accessing a US$500mn loan from a pool of banks including Citibank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, ICBC and Santander among others. 

This loan will allow Telecom to pre-cancel another US$1000mn syndicated loan subscribed in February for 12 months. 

Brazil: NII Holdings starts Nextel’s sale 

NII Holdings has initiated the sale of its 70% participation in Nextel Brasil and potential buyers include Telefónica Brasil and Access Industries, who scooped a 30% stake from Ice Group earlier in 2018. 

Brazil: American Tower and Algar won Cemig auction

Last August, American Tower Corp and Brazilian operator Algar Telecom purchased the broadband network of Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais SA known as Cemig

At an auction held in Cemig’s HQ in Minas Gerais, American Tower acquired Lot 1 of Cemig’s assets, which include its Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro assets for an approximate price of US$152mn. Lot 2, which includes assets in Goiás and the Northeast of Brazil, was acquired by Algar Telecom for approximately US$21mn

Brazil: TIM and Vivo sign roaming agreement

TIM Brasil and Vivo have recently sealed a 3G roaming agreement that allows the two MNOs to use each other’s 3G infrastructure in 570 cities and towns.  

Brazil: Vivo expands fibre footprint to 100 cities 

Telefónica Brasil (Vivo) has confirmed that its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) footprint has reached 100 cities, following the service’s launch in Ijui, in the northeast of Brazil, and Sertaozinho, in the interior of Sao Paulo. The MNO is on target to deploy 20 new fibre networks in 2018, compared to 16 in 2017. 

Brazil: Vivo and Ericsson test 3.5GHz in Sao Paulo 

Market leader Telefónica Brasil (Vivo) is working with Ericsson to test the 5G-capable 3.5GHz band in Sao Paulo. The test used an active Ericsson AIR6468 5G NR-capable radio, with 64T64R Massive MIMO features. 

Caribbean: Digicel agrees tower sale 

Digicel has signed a sale and leaseback deal for 450 sites across the Caribbean with an undisclosed buyer. The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter of the year.  This is the third deal the company is sealing with a towerco following the divestment of 202 towers in El Salvador and 215 sites in the French Antilles to Phoenix Tower International. 

Chile: Government to ease access to land for infrastructure projects

The Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones (Subtel) has sealed a deal with the Ministry of National Assets that will ease access to government-owned land for the rollout of telecom infrastructure. The sites for which Subtel will receive bidding and leasing information could be utilised for telecom towers as well as fibre deployment. The agreement includes government buildings in the list which could be suitable for urban sites. The deal aims at reducing digital marginality especially in the south of Chile.  

Chile: Subtel starts consultation on 5G 

Last July, Chile’s Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel) opened a public consultation for its National Plan for 5G. The entity aimed to gather information and proposals as guide to formulate a definitive development plan for 5G. 

Colombia: Tower One seals leasing deal with Avantel  

Tower One, an independent towerco active across CALA and listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange, has sealed a ten-year fixed-term MLA with Colombian MNO Avantel. To date, Tower One owns and operates 42 sites across Argentina and Colombia. 

Costa Rica: Tigo closer to seal acquisition of cable companies  

Sutel, the Costa Rican telecoms watchdog, has given the green light to the acquisition of Cable Television Doble and Cable Zarcero by Tigo.   

Costa Rica: Liberty acquires Cabletica 

Liberty Latin America (LLA) has finalised its purchase of an 80% stake in Cabletica, Costa Rica’s third-largest broadband provider by subscribers. The company had an enterprise value of around CRC146 billion (US$248 million) and the remaining 20% will be retained by Televisora de Costa Rica (Teletica).  

LLA President and CEO Balan Nair said: “We are thrilled to have completed our first acquisition of LLA and look forward to leveraging our capabilities and investing in Cabletica to enhance the leading products and services currently being delivered to customers Costa Rica.” 

Dominican Republic: Phoenix Tower International acquires 1,049 towers in Dominican Republic  

Boca Raton-based Phoenix Tower International (PTI) has reached an agreed with Altice Dominicana, a subsidiary of Altice Europe N.V. to purchase 100% of Teletorres del Caribe, a Dominican tower company with a portfolio of 1,049 wireless communication tower sites for US$170mn.

The transaction expands PTI’s footprint in the country, where the company will now own over 1,600 sites as well as reinforces PTI’s position as the leading tower company across the Caribbean. The transaction is expected to close during Q3 2018 and is subject to the effective de-merger and customary closing conditions. 

Dominican Republic: Viettel keeps an eye on the Dominican Republic 

Las month, Vietnamese military-linked sent its executive director Nguyen Than Xuan to the Caribbean to discuss investment opportunities with Miguel Mejia, DR’s Minister for Regional Integration Policies, and a number of other political figures. 

The Vietnamese operator has previously expressed its interest on an operating concession in the country and the company already has investments in MNOs in Peru and Haiti as well as other nine international markets. 

Jamaica: Phoenix Tower International acquires Digicel’s towers  

Phoenix Tower International (PTI) via its subsidiary Phoenix Tower Jamaica Limited, announces that it has closed its sale and leaseback transaction with Digicel to acquire the ownership or management rights relating to 451 wireless communication tower sites for US$90mn.

Speaking about the transaction, PTI CEO, Dagan Kasavana, stated; “This latest transaction between PTI and Digicel deepens our excellent working relationship and strengthens PTI’s position as the premier wireless infrastructure provider in the Caribbean. Jamaica is poised for significant wireless growth and data consumption in the years to come and PTI looks forward to helping our Jamaican customers, landlords, and communities we operate in meet these growing demands successfully.”  

Commenting on the agreement, Digicel Group CEO, Alex Matuschka, said; “With similar agreements with PTI for sites in El Salvador and the French West Indies, this was the next natural step and we are delighted to be extending our partnership. This move is consistent with our stated intent to divest non-strategic assets and focus on building our business for the future.”  

Mexico: Telefónica plans to sell Mexico and Central America units

Spanish telecom giant Telefónica is in advanced-stage talks to sell its unit in Mexico and Central America and the company would consider a partial or whole sale.

According to a report in the newspaper El Economista, Telefónica’s Mexican unit is valued around €1.1bn-€1.9bn, while the company’s 60% interest in its Central American unit is worth about €760mn.  

The company aims to reduce its debt as quick as possible as well as boosting its stock value. The reports highlights that the deal can take place in the upcoming weeks, as long as Telefonica finds a good value offer.  

Peru: Entel approves purchase of Directnet  

Entel’s board has approved the acquisition of Directnet for US$3.5mn. Directnet owns spectrum in the 2300 and 2400MHz bands that can be utilised for mobile services.   

Peru: ZTE to deploy 1000 BTS for Bitel  

Vietnamese-backed Bitel has contracted ZTE for the deployment of 1,000 new BTS by 2020. The rollout will begin with 200 sites across 183 Peruvian provinces.  

Peru: 5G will boost telecoms investments to US$1bn 

Peruvian’s government is expecting that the new tenders for 5G spectrum will drive an investment of US$1bn in telecom infrastructure assets as highlighted by the Vice Minister of Communications Virginia Nakagawa earlier this month.

Regional: Phoenix Tower International seals loan  

Phoenix Tower International (PTI) has closed a US$485mn senior secured term loan facility to boost its international expansion. The transaction consists of US$290mn senior secured 5-year term loan and US$195mn delayed draw which will allow PTI to continue expanding internationally. The credit facility was led by Scotiabank, with Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Santander, ING Capital, Natixis, Banco General, Orix Capital, and Towerbank participating and is the first Pan-Latin America facility of its kind secured by infrastructure assets.

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