The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is boosting Romania’s fast-growing mobile broadband communications market, with the largest syndicated loan in the country this year, in a move intended to offer people and businesses more value added services.
COSMOTE Romania* – the country’s third-largest mobile operator and a subsidiary of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), the Greek incumbent and leading Southeast Europe telecom operator – will receive a €225 million financing arranged by the EBRD: €75 million for the EBRD’s own account and €150 million syndicated to a diverse group of seven commercial banks.
The loan will enable COSMOTE Romania to finance the renewal of its licences and fulfil the payment for the spectrum allowing fourth generation (4G) mobile services, and to satisfy a part of its capital expenditure requirements for its network.
Romanian demand for mobile broadband services is growing, and greater competition in the provision of 4G services is expected. Companies are facing significant costs linked to investment in networks and services.
The financing arranged by the EBRD will enable COSMOTE Romania to improve its competitive advantage. The company will deliver faster broadband communications with a better quality of service, and will provide new and innovative applications and services.
“At the EBRD, we believe that building a secure ICT infrastructure is crucial in driving innovation and modern knowledge-intensive industries”, said the EBRD’s Director for Romania, James Hyslop. “Telecommunications is a fast-growing, knowledge-based sector in all countries where the EBRD invests. We are delighted that our loan to COSMOTE Romania will provide a boost to Romania’s telecommunications market to the benefit of both people and businesses. We are excited that this transaction is a maiden project with OTE group, and also involves a large group of trusted banks,” he added.
Mandated Lead Arrangers on this syndicated loan are ING Bank and Société Générale, Lead Arrangers are Erste Group Bank AG and Eurobank Private Bank Luxembourg S.A., while Citibank , NBG Bank Malta Limited and Raiffeisen Bank International AG come in as Arrangers.
OTE Group Chairman and CEO, Michael Tsamaz, said: “This agreement is a vote of confidence for the country, its prospects and possibilities. It also demonstrates the EBRD’s confidence in OTE Group, its financial health and successful transformation. Despite the macroeconomic odds we remain focused on creating value for local societies and we invest in their future by building the telecommunications infrastructure of tomorrow.”
COSMOTE Romania CEO, Nikolai Beckers, stated: “Telecoms are an extremely capital intensive business, with rapid technological changes. COSMOTE Romania, as a total communications provider, launched 4G services in April this year, confirming once again its customer-centric approach. Through this loan from the EBRD we are enhancing our resources so we can pursue the optimal investment plan for our broadband development strategy.”
Since the beginning of its operations the EBRD has invested approximately €6.2 billion in over 330 projects in Romania, mobilising more than €12 billion for these projects from other sources of financing.
*COSMOTE Romania’s 4G network:
Following the spectrum auction conducted by the National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM), which ended on 24 September 2012, COSMOTE Romania has renewed its current licence in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands and acquired additional spectrum in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands. The new licences will begin on 6 April 2014, with a term of 15 years.
In the auction COSMOTEsecured 50 x 2 MHz of spectrum, fully aligned with the company’s auction targets and strategy, able to accommodate the long-term network needs for development and capacity for all technologies (2G/3G/4G).
In April 2013, COSMOTE Romania commercially launched the 4G services in Bucharest (the northern area) and Otopeni, Ploiesti, Cluj and Iasi, and in the tourist areas of Sinaia, Busteni, Predeal. The fourth generation network provides significantly improved customer experience, by allowing download speeds of up to 75 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 37.5 Mbps. The new 4G COSMOTE network is available for data uploading and downloading initially through two modems, Huawei E3276 and ZTE MF823, through the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE 10.1 tablet.
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