Millicom, the international telecommunications and media company that offers digital services to customers in a number of countries in Africa and Latin America, has announced the expansion of its cable business with the acquisition of a controlling 80% stake in Cable Onda, the largest cable and fixed telecommunications services provider in Panama.
Cable Onda is the leader in Panama’s broadband internet, pay-TV, fixed telephony and B2B telecommunications markets, serving more than 500,000 customers, in the main using its state-of-the-art hybrid fibre-cable (HFC) network.
The acquisition is part of Millicom’s strategy of accelerating the deployment of high-speed data networks in Central and South America. It also increases Millicom’s cable exposure to more than 40% of Latin American service revenue and, the company says, significantly enhances its B2B capabilities as Panama enjoys an increasingly important role as a business hub for the region.
The acquisition of a controlling stake in Cable Onda completes Millicom’s Central America footprint and connects it with its operations in Colombia (which is to the southeast of Panama). Millicom now has contiguous country operations from Guatemala to Colombia.
Panama, Latin America's fastest-growing economy, has a population of just over four million and disposable income levels that are said to be among the highest in Latin America. However, penetration rates for digital services remain comparatively low, offering the potential to, as Millicom puts it “extend the company's market leadership and bring digital lifestyle services to even more Panamanians”.