Bolivian mobile operator Tigo has announced plans to invest US$130 million to expand its telecom infrastructure. Much of this money will be used to roll out optical cables to 100,000 new homes in this landlocked South American country.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of European telecom giant Millicom, Tigo appears to foresee a brighter future for Bolivia, where its 4G service has already been a huge hit with smartphone users.
“These are the first steps of an ambitious investment plan that we have built for this year,” said Paul Guard, general manager of the company.
Over the years, Tigo has invested more than $300 million to build up its network. Last year, the carrier invested in excess of $84 million in infrastructure development.
Today, millions of Bolivians are using its high-speed broadband service, mostly to watch football matches. In the first two months of this year, the carrier invested $10 million to launch two new services, including a pay-TV service.
More than half of Bolivia’s population (10.5 million) are able to access Tigo’s 4G services. Millicom says the network will be expanded to cover 70% of the country, including 170 municipalities, by 2018.
Bolivia has more than three million internet users, with 95% accessing the web via a mobile connection.
“The goal is to promote a digital lifestyle that promotes employment and business activities of our customers, opening up new opportunities for Bolivians,” Guardia said, according to local newspapers.
Tigo recently partnered with technology provider NeuLion to launch TigoSports, a new over-the-top (OTT) sports app video service for smartphone subscribers. There are reports that the carrier is also in talks with the country’s Space Agency (ABE) to purchase satellite capacity.