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IFC to Provide a Loan for up to US$450 million to Telecom Argentina to Expand Mobile and Fixed Broadband Coverage


In Sao Paulo, Brazil:
Patricia Carvalho, IFC
Tel: (55 11) 5185-6873
E-mail:
pcarvalho@ifc.org

In Buenos Aires, Argentina:
Fabiana Sas, Telecom Argentina

Phone: 54-11-4968-3236
Email: flsas@teco.com.ar


Washington, D.C. / Buenos Aires, March 6, 2019 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, agreed to provide a loan for up to US$450 million to Telecom Argentina, one of the leading telecommunications companies in the country that offers fixed and mobile high-speed connections and pay tv, through an integrated content platform, to boost the expansion of broadband coverage with a focus on underserved regions in Argentina. The financing package includes US$110 million from IFC, with the additional funding to be mobilized by IFC from international banks.

IFC’s financing will help improve Argentina’s mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure through the installation of high-speed fiber optic and the upgrade of wireless transmission equipment by Telecom Argentina. This second financing follows an earlier one in 2016 and will help revert a decade-long trend of underfunding in Argentina’s telecommunications sector which has hampered coverage, quality of services and data transmission speeds, particularly outside the city of Buenos Aires.

Carlos Moltini, CEO of Telecom Argentina, said: “our partnership with IFC is the result of the strength of the project we are developing in this stage of Telecom, which is focused on generating a qualitative jump in terms of coverage and the capacity and quality of our networks and services. We know that these are key factors for the development of the country.”


While Argentina’s telecommunications sector compares favorably to other countries in Latin America with respect to some indicators such as mobile broadband penetration, capital expenditures represent only about 0.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) versus one percent for other countries in the region such as Colombia, Chile, Mexico or Brazil. There is also an acute digital divide between urban centers and other regions of the country.


Over the past three years, IFC has invested over US$1.8 billion in telecommunications, technology, and startup companies globally. As part of IFC’s global digital infrastructure initiative, IFC investments in the telecommunications sector aim to partner with mobile and broadband service providers to support their expansion and upgrading of their network infrastructure. Increased broadband connectivity facilitates international economic integration and the development of a digital economy. Inclusive access to the Internet also contributes to more productive small enterprises, as well as to more transparency and efficiency in the provisioning of government services.

 
Aniko Szigetvari, Global Head of Telecommunications, Media and Technology at IFC, said: “IFC’s follow on investment in Telecom Argentina reinforces our commitment to support the expansion of broadband connectivity and the development of the country’s digital economy. Argentina is the Spanish speaking country with largest land mass in the planet and the needs to connect it are vast. We are pleased to support an important client such as Telecom Argentina as it doubles down in this effort.  We are confident that upgrading Argentina’s telecommunications infrastructure with the support of IFC will spur innovation, productivity, efficiency and transparency across all economic sectors”.


IFC’s strategy in Argentina is focused on financing projects with significant development impact for spurring economic growth, innovation and job creation. Priority sectors include agribusiness, infrastructure, telecommunications, renewable energy and competitive manufacturing. IFC initiatives are geared at strengthening long-term financing for companies, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and helping to improve investment climate for business start-ups and SME growth.


About IFC

IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than US$23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About Telecom Argentina

Telecom Argentina is one of Argentina´s leading telecommunications companies that arises from the integration of two large Argentine companies: Telecom and Cablevisión. Through its commercial brands, Telecom Argentina offers fixed and mobile telephony, data transmission, pay television and Internet services for individuals, companies and governments throughout the country. Telecom also offers mobile service in Paraguay and pay television in Uruguay. With a strategic plan focused on the deployment of state-of-the-art technology and unified systems, the company is investing US$ 5,000 million to consolidate a better and more sustainable infrastructure. This new company continues transforming the digital experience of its customers in order to offer them a secure, flexible and dynamic service, in all their devices, with fixed and mobile high-speed connections, through an integrated content platform.

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