O’Brien invests €150m in Central American push

13 Apr 2007

Irish billionaire telecoms entrepreneur Denis O’Brien is investing US$150m in a push to enter the Central American mobile telecoms market, starting with services in El Salvador.

Digicel’s new GSM network will provide 95pc population coverage of El Salvador, targeting a market it claims is under-served by the incumbent operators in that country.

El Salvador has a population of seven million people with mobile penetration of around 33pc. However, there is evidence that the mobile phone market in El Salvador is experiencing sustained growth and uptake is exceeding fixed-line services.

“El Salvador is a very exciting marketplace for Digicel with low penetration, a young population and a buoyant economy,” said O’Brien.

The US$150m investment will be focused on expanding and upgrading Digicel’s existing network in the country.

The company has also established a network of more than 500 retail distributors and in excess of 6,000 recharge outlets.

Digicel’s investment in the Caribbean and Central American region exceeds US$1.5bn and the company currently employs 3,000 people.

Across the region Digicel is operating in 22 markets and has four million subscribers.

By John Kennedy