Indotel tweaks Altice merger conditions

5 Dec 2017

The Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Instituto Dominicano de las Telecomunicaciones, Indotel) has confirmed that it has reconsidered the remedies applied to its September approval of the merger between Altice-backed Orange Dominicana and Tricom, adding some new clauses to its authorisation of the operational tie up.

Resolution No. 77-17, supersedes Resolution No. 056-17, and compels the telco to deploy mobile broadband infrastructure capable of supporting 10Mbps download speeds in the provinces of Bahoruco, Barahona, Dajabon, Elias Pina and Pedernales. In doing so, Altice must submit a three-year investment plan worth DOP625 million (USD12.9 million) to the watchdog to cover the network expansion. Further clauses will oblige Altice to install, operate and maintain 600 public Wi-Fi hot-spots in locations designated by Indotel, as well as paying an annual sum of DOP4 million into Indotel’s ‘Excelencia Academica’ fund. If Altice agrees to the new conditions, it will be permitted to retain the 30MHz block of 1900MHz former Tricom spectrum that Indotel initially sought to seize.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in November 2013 Altice signed an agreement to acquire full-service telco Tricom from Hispaniola Telecom for USD400 million. Later that month, Altice agreed to buy mobile operator Orange Dominicana from Paris-based Orange Group for EUR1.1 billion (USD1.44 billion). Despite suggestions that the two businesses would be merged with immediate effect, they continued to trade separately during the ensuing four-year period. The operational merger was completed late last month, following the creation of Altice Dominicana, only for the newly enlarged unit to be put up for sale, as its European parent company seeks to trim its debt pile. The divestment is expected to raise around EUR3 billion, with Viettel Group, Millicom International Cellular (MIC), Liberty Global and Digicel Group all expected to register their interest.

Dominican Republic, Altice Dominicana (formerly Orange), Altice Europe (formerly Altice Group), Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel), Tricom