EIB signs EUR 150m financing agreement with Greece’s OTE Group mobile arm Cosmote SA, further EFSI support in Greece
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 150m financing agreement with Greece’s Cosmote Mobile Telecommunications SA to help enhance the company’s 4G/4G+ mobile broadband network coverage, capacity expansions and technological upgrades. The transaction benefits from support of the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financial instrument of the Investment Plan for Europe.
Cosmote is a subsidiary of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), which in turn is 40% owned by Deutsche Telekom.
“The EIB is committed to helping high quality, innovative Greek companies to realise their investment plans. We are pleased to be working with Cosmote to enhance the company's already extensive network. This is precisely the kind of operation the Investment Plan for Europe was designed to support. I am delighted about this further step to bring the benefits of the European Fund for Strategic Investments to Greece,” said Nicholas Jennett, EIB Deputy Director General and head of the Investment Team for Greece.
Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: "This agreement demonstrates yet again the valuable role the Juncker Plan can play in mobilising investment to support and expand growth-enabling infrastructure in Greece. The agreement also serves as testament to the Commission's broader strategic objective of seeking to fully exploit the opportunities offered by digital technologies to promote innovation, productivity and growth. The Commission remains committed to supporting investment that will act to secure Greece's economic recovery."
The EIB financing agreement is expected to help Cosmote further expand its mobile broadband network coverage. Cosmote will also implement new features to further upgrade its 4G network to LTE Advanced, which will significantly increase the network's performance in terms of peak broadband speed and capacity. There will be associated investments in the core network to support the additional installed capacity in the access network, product platforms and IT. The project will result in increasing the quality and coverage of Cosmote's mobile network in Greece, enabling provisioning of advanced mobile broadband services in even more rural and remote areas of the country.
OTE Group Chairman and CEO, Mr. Michael Tsamaz, commented: “Our investments are addressing the continuously evolving needs of the society and our customers, for enhanced communication networks and services. We are far and away the largest investor in telecommunications in Greece, having invested over €2bn in the past six years and committed to another €1.5bn by 2020, to establish optical fiber and 4G/4G+ networks. NGNs are not a luxury. They are the “sine qua non” of the digital age. We need to address the digital needs of customers and businesses in an environment friendly way to ensure our sustainability. Our cooperation with the EIB will enable us to deliver our strategy and build the networks of the future, a prerequisite for the country’s growth.”
The project supports the Digital Agenda for Europe initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy, and its specific targets to enable very fast (over 30 Mbps) broadband services to all citizens of the EU and, to a certain extent, 100 Mbps broadband services to 50% of the population by 2020.