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IFC Invests $15 million in Avantel to Expand Telecommunications Coverage and Boost Competition in Colombia


In Washington, D.C.:
Adriana Gomez
Teléfono: +202-458-5204
E-Mail: AGomez@ifc.org

Washington, D.C./Bogotá, Colombia, November 13, 2013 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has invested $15 million to finance the development and expansion of Avantel’s 4G LTE network in Colombia. This investment is part of an equity capital raise that has also been supported by Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), Appaloosa Management, and the major shareholder of Avantel, Discovery Capital.

Through this project, IFC is supporting the Government’s commitment to increasing competition and improving quality of service in the Colombian telecommunications sector. Avantel will use the new capital to acquire 4GLTE spectrum, set up a new network in the country, refinance debt, and support the expected growth in subscribers.

Avantel is one of five players in the communications market that won the Government of Colombia’s 4GLTE spectrum auction last June. The company will launch its 4G LTE service through a portfolio of popular smartphones, tablets and data devices to compete with the existing mobile operators.

“Avantel can contribute meaningfully to the Ministry of Technologies’ (MinTic) Vive Digital targets through its high-speed data services and value plans targeting enterprise and government users.  MinTic’s 4G auction and implementation of regulation are essential to achieving the objectives behind Colombia’s national broadband plan,” said Christopher Fiore, Chairman of Avantel.

 “We are pleased to participate in Avantel’s capital raise and support its expansion plans. Colombia's forward-looking telecom policies are accelerating deployment of the internet and enhancing competition in the communications sector,” said Aniko Szigetvari, IFC´s Head of Telecom, Media and Technology for Africa and Latin America, Aniko Szigetvari, said that, as the fourth telecom operator in Colombia, “Avantel has an important role in expanding a robust wireless broadband service and offering affordable usage of data and voice services.”

In Colombia, IFC focuses on supporting sectors essential to social and economic development, including natural resources industries, infrastructure, health, education, agribusiness, and public-private partnerships to build ports, roads, and airports. IFC helps leading Colombian companies modernize and expand their businesses. IFC also promotes access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises, and works on improving the investment climate by simplifying regulations and royalty management.

To learn more about IFC in Latin America and the Caribbean, visit
www.ifc.org/lac.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In fiscal year 2013, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Avantel S.A.S.  
Founded in 1997, Avantel is one of the four mobile telecom operators in Colombia. The company focuses on the communication needs of its enterprise and government agency clients by offering value added solutions that integrate voice, messaging services, mobile applications and video content. Avantel provides service to approximately 20,000 enterprise clients and government agencies. Avantel recently participated in the 4G spectrum auction and successfully acquired 30 MHz of ‘Advanced Wireless Spectrum’ (frequencies 1710-1755 / 2110-2155).  

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