ETB acquires Colombian satellite firm to boost corporate offer

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Colombian state telco ETB, based in capital city Bogotá, has acquired a 75% stake in local satellite communications firm Skynet for 30bn pesos (US$14.6mn), with a view to improving its offer for corporate and government clients with a presence in isolated areas of the country, ETB said in a release.

The acquisition also gives the company the opportunity to provide other services in the long term, such as satellite TV, the company's president, Saúl Kattan, said.

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ETB has many clients in sectors such as banking and government, which have a physical presence in isolated areas that are difficult to reach via the country's existing fiber optic telecommunications infrastructure, which makes the provision of satellite communications services necessary, according to the executive.

The integration of Skynet will allow ETB to save between 10% and 30% of the resources it currently uses to contract satellite internet services from third party providers, one of which is Skynet.

The current owners will retain the remaining 25% of the company, and Skynet will retain its operational independence, Kattan said, adding that ETB wants not simply to maintain, but also grow, the company.

The state telco has flipped the tables on recent market speculation which suggested that the firm may seek a strategic partner, although ETB has insisted that it is aiming to drive growth organically.

The operator is fast diversifying its revenue base away from traditional fixed telephony services, expanding in fixed and mobile internet, as well as other services such as IPTV.