According to La Nacion, Paraguayan state-owned telco Copaco has distanced itself from the mooted acquisition of local pay-TV and broadband provider Cablevision, which is owned by Argentina’s largest media conglomerate Grupo Clarin and offers cable broadband services under the brand name ‘FiberTel’. Last month Paraguayan politician Miguel Lopez Perito told the press: ‘The Clarin Group offered to sell Cablevision to several media organisations in our area, including the state telephone Copaco, and the offer will be considered and the issue discussed. They intend to leave the country’; Grupo Clarin later denied the reports, indicating that it was merely seeking ‘strategic partners to expand services in Paraguay’ and that its recent meeting with government officials was designed to ‘explore chapters related to the development of communications networks as well as cellular telephone licences and 4G mobile internet.’
However, Cablevision’s future still hangs in the balance. According to La Nacion, Tigo – Paraguay’s leading mobile operator by subscribers – may be close to acquiring an 80% stake in Cablevision for around USD150 million. TeleGeography notes that this is not the first time that Cablevision has been forced to fend off speculation regarding its ownership. In September 2011 it was forced to deny press reports suggesting that it was on the verge of being sold to either Mexico’s America Movil – which has a presence in the Paraguayan wireless sector through Claro Paraguay – or Telecom Argentina-owned cellco Nucleo (Telecom Personal Paraguay). The subsequently-discredited report valued the cableco at USD180 million.
Cablevision currently has approximately 118,000 pay-TV subscribers in the capital area of Asuncion and Great Asuncion, as well as around 11,000 people taking its FiberTel broadband internet products. FiberTel offers broadband speeds ranging from 640kbps to 10Mbps. At USD139.90, the premium product is almost USD100 cheaper than Copaco’s 4Mbps fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service.