Carriers Map Day 2024 - 24, 25 de Septiembre
Monday, February 05, 2024

Regional Players Map in Latin America 2023

Big Players have changed: they are now divided into services and infrastructure

Separation of services and infrastructure is the prevailing motivation behind merger and acquisition moves in Latin America during 2023. Telefónica maintains a leading role trough the testing of variants of infrastructure sharing models, which strengthen KKR investment fund in the region.

After one year of analysis, the National Economic Prosecutor's Office in Chile, approved in December 2023, the transaction of the assets of Entel's fiber-to-the-home infrastructure business to OnNet Fibra, firm that is 60% controlled by KKR and 40% by Telefónica Chile. This last operation, amounting to €394 million, implies that Entel will offer internet services over OnNet's network, deployment over which DirecTv also operates. In the medium-sized provider field, Mundo made effective the spin-off of its infrastructure subsidiary, Holdco Networks spin off-, to compete directly with OnNet and will try its luck in Colombia with a similar model.

In Peru, another agreement involving Telefónica and Entel was drawn up, but under different terms. In mid-2023, Telefónica Hispam sold 64% of PangeaCo, Peru's wholesale fiber optic company, to KKR and Entel Perú. 54% of the shares of the resulting firm, OnNet Fibra Perú, belongs to the investment fund; 36% to the Spanish company and the remaining 10% to Entel. KKR announced a US$200 million injection into the new company, which aims to have 5.2 million homes passed by the end of 2026 (it currently has 2 million).

At the same time in Colombia, Telefónica integrated its mobile access networks with Millicom for a new jointly owned infrastructure company, and in Brazil it tried to move forward with a 700 Mhz spectrum sharing agreement with Winity, which ultimately did not obtain regulatory approval. These tests took place within the framework of a turbulent 2023 for Telefónica's parent company, after the offer by the Arab Saudi Telecom Company (STC) for 9.9% of the company, which led to the decision of the Spanish government to acquire a 10% of the operator, through Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales, SEPI (State-owned industrial holding company), an organization dependent on the Ministry of Finance).

América Móvil had completed the spin-off of its towers in Latin America in mid-2022, by establishing Sites. This unit closed its first year of operations with more than 34,600 towers in the region, and the experience will be replicated by the operator in Europe. In terms of mergers and acquisitions, during 2023 the Mexican firm focused on adapting to the requirements to be complied with in order to achieve regulatory approval of the merger of Claro and VTR in Chile - still pending -, for which it had to sell its satellite TV business to Tu Ves .

Millicom continues with its cost efficiency program, Project Everest: within that framework it is preparing in Paraguay the merger by absorption between Telecel and its subsidiary Servicios y Productos Multimedios. Atlas Investissement, owned by French magnate Xavier Niel, became Millicom's largest shareholder in 2023, with 27.13%.

Liberty Latin America completed the acquisition of Claro Panama; it took over the spectrum and 120,000 prepaid mobile users from Dish (Boost Mobile) in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, for US$256 million; and it sold 1,300 towers in six Caribbean and Panama markets to Phoenix Tower. Finally, the founder of Digicel, Denis O'Brien, reached a US$1.2 billion deal with the operator's securities creditors, whereby they acquired a 62% stake in the firm.


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