Movistar looks to offload stake in fibre unit; telcos launch ‘Solidarity Plan’

31 Mar 2020

Movistar Chile has reportedly instructed Banco Santander to find a buyer for a minority stake in its recently-created fibre infrastructure division, InfraCo, El Confidencial writes. The operator is looking to sell a stake of just under 50% in the company, which was established earlier this year to install, maintain and operate fibre infrastructure and to provide wholesale fibre services. InfraCo was estimated to be valued at around EUR500 million (USD552.9 million), with the potential stake worth roughly EUR250 million.

Elsewhere, Chile’s Ministry of Transport and Telecommunication (Miniseterio de Transportes y Telecomunicaciones, MTT) and five of the nation’s largest telcos – Movistar, Claro, Entel, VTR and Grupo GTD – have announced the launch of a ‘Solidarity Plan’ from 1 April 2020 to help the nation’s poorest citizens remain connected whilst the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. Subscribers that are unable to pay for their usual monthly tariff can contact their provider and request to be moved to the Solidarity Plan for 60 days. Fixed broadband subscribers will have access to broadband at download speeds of 2Mbps, which the ministry notes would allow users to browse the internet, answer emails and use social network sites but would not allow for other recreational content such as videos or online gaming. Post-paid mobile users will be granted 300 minutes of calls, 50 SMS and data at 256kbps, plus free access to certain social network sites (varying depending on the operator), the government’s coronavirus website and education ministry’s website. Pre-paid mobile subscribers, finally, would only be granted free access to the aforementioned sites, with no additional minutes or messages. The plan would only be available to customers that had topped up in the last 30 days, however. The Solidarity Plan is available to users in the 40% of households with the lowest income according to the government’s Social Registry of Homes (Registro Social de Hogares, RSH), equating to around three million households, and over seven million people.