Telvenco, the new owner of Venezuela’s third largest mobile operator Digitel, has announced plans to merge the cellco with two smaller cellular rivals, Infonet and Digicel. Telvenco, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s Cisneros group, agreed to buy Digitel for USD425 million from Telecom Italia last Friday, before revealing an agreement with the two regional providers to fuse their operations with Digitel, forming a single national supplier. No financial details of the arrangement were given for the venture, and the move is subject to regulatory approval.
Digitel is the largest GSM operator in Venezuela, with more than 1.7 million customers at the end of 2005, up from 1.5 million at the end of September. It covers the country’s central region, with a population coverage of 44%. It achieved gross profits of around USD96 million in 2005 on revenues of around USD325 million. At the end of September Digicel had over 100,000 GSM subscribers in southern and eastern regions, whilst Infonet had a similar number of users of its GSM network in the western part of the country.
Telvenco board chairman Oswaldo Cisneros was originally the founder, chairman and CEO of Venezuela’s largest mobile operator Telcel, now owned by Telefónica Móviles and rebranded as Movistar.