Soros to invest USD150m in Brazilian venture ON Telecom

7 Aug 2013

Billionaire financier George Soros, through his private hedge fund, plans to invest USD150 million in his Brazilian telecom business ON Telecom (formerly known as Sunrise) in a bid to stimulate the availability of 4G high speed internet services in the country, the company said on Tuesday. The Soros Fund Management is ploughing the investment into Sao Paulo-based ON Telecom which earlier this year launched a 4G-based wireless broadband internet network in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state. ‘Our total investment plan is BRL500 million (USD217 million) over two to three years,’ ON Telecom chairman Zaki Rakib is quoted separately as saying. ‘Soros has committed USD150 million, some of which has already been spent,’ he added. The chairman and his CEO Fares Nassar jointly own more than 50% of the start-up’s capital, but Rakib notes that as the Soros Fund Management commits more money into the company, its equity stake is likely to increase, and it could become the majority shareholder.

Having successfully completed tests in Itabira Valinhos and Louveira, in Campinas, ON Telecom is now offering its first commercial 4G Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) broadband services to residential users in parts of Sao Paulo. The service is set to be expanded during 2H13 to include the areas of Campinas and Sao Jose dos Campos, and by the end of 2014, its rollout plan envisages coverage of a further 133 municipalities in the state. ON Telecom’s new wireless broadband service uses a wireless router to connect to the operator’s 4G network. Monthly subscriptions are likely to cost between BRL99 (USD43.1) for a 5Mbps connection, rising to BRL169.90 for a 10Mbps line.

Brazil, ON Telecom (Brazil)