Puerto Rico’s Movistar to restructure as part of catch-up plan

5 Dec 2006

Puerto Rico’s smallest cellco, New Comm Wireless Services, which operates under the Movistar brand name of its part-owner Telefónica Móviles, has announced a major restructuring plan involving a USD110 million share transfer, reports BNamericas. The joint venture between US-owned Puerto Rican holding company Clearcomm and Telefónica said it will sell shares amounting to 35% of the company to an investment group headed by capital investment firms Columbia Capital and MC Venture Partners. No further details were released.

The restructuring is long overdue as Movistar is beginning to lose market share in a highly competitive sector of six operators; it accounted for around 8% of the country’s subscribers at the end of June. Separately, Movistar has secured financing for a USD38 million upgrade of its CDMA IS-95/CDMA2000 1x mobile network to 3G 1xEV-DO technology. The network upgrade should be ready for commercial launch in April 2007, local daily El Vocero reports. The other three CDMA mobile operators on the island, Centennial, Sprint and Verizon, all have commercial EV-DO operations.

Puerto Rico, Open Mobile (part of PRWirelessPR)