Millicom Expands to Panama with a Controlling Stake in Cable Onda

Onda provides broadband internet, pay-TV, fixed telephony, and B2B telecom services, with its customer base exceeding 500,000.

Cable Onda

European telecom carrier Millicom has expanded its LatAm operations to Panama by acquiring an 80% stake in a local cable and telecom operator Cable Onda.

While the purchase values Cable Onda at US$1.46 billion, Millicom did not disclose how much it paid for the stake.

Onda provides broadband internet, pay-TV, fixed telephony, and B2B telecom services, with its customer base exceeding 500,000. For the half-year ending June 30, 2018, it generated US$195 million in revenue.

Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos said the acquisition was in line with the company’s goal of accelerating deployment of high-speed data networks in Central and South America.

“With the addition of Panama, we now have contiguous country operations from Guatemala to Colombia, which will significantly enhance our B2B capabilities, given the country’s increasingly important role as a business hub for the region,” he said.

Millicom operates in several Latin American countries – including Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Paraguay – under the Tigo brand, serving more than 50 million mobile telephony clients and 3.3 million households. It is also one of the largest carriers in Colombia.

Its expansion into Panama was long overdue. The Central American country has one of the highest disposable income levels in the region while penetration rates for digital services are relatively low.

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Cable Onda has more than 2,300 employees across Panama. It is not clear whether Millicom will fold the cable operator into its Tigo brand or let it continue operating separately.

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