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The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing EUR 110 million to ZON OPTIMUS to support investments to enhance high speed mobile broadband services in Portugal. EIB Vice-President Magdalena Álvarez and Miguel Almeida, ZON OPTIMUS’ CEO, signed the corresponding finance contract in Lisbon today.

EIB Vice-President Magdalena Álvarez stressed the operation’s importance: “This loan will contribute to foster the competitiveness of the Portuguese market for mobile communications also in compliance with the Banks’ objective to support a strong knowledge economy based on fluid information flows, to the benefit of sustainable and more sophisticated growth. This is the second EIB loan to the ZON OPTIMUS group over the last five years, evidencing the excellent cooperation between the two institutions”.

ZON OPTIMUS’ CEO, Miguel Almeida, said that “this EIB loan will strongly support ZON OPTIMUS in the further development and competitiveness of our Next Generation Network and it is particularly relevant for our Group at a time when we are actively integrating our fixed and mobile Infrastructures as a result of our recently completed merger. We are proud to benefit from the continued commitment of EIB to our Group since 2009. ZON OPTIMUS is one of the first integrated cable and mobile groups in Europe and we believe this combination is instrumental to driving convergence, whilst continuing to deliver high quality, innovative and relevant solutions for our consumers “.

The project consists of the investments necessary for the roll-out of mobile network equipment and systems for the current 3G (UMTS with HSPA) and the new 4G (Long Term Evolution-LTE) technologies. The project will help to improve access to broadband services, increase operating efficiency and reduce costs as well as foster competition in the telecoms sector. The project will also foster economic and social cohesion as parts of the investments financed are located in convergence regions throughout Portugal.

For the EIB, this loan falls within the wider context of the Europa 2020 Strategy to promote smart growth and develop a knowledge and innovation-based economy. A key element is the “Digital Agenda for Europe" initiative, since efficient high-speed networks are vital for the reliable and rapid transfer of constantly growing data volumes. As EU objectives, knowledge economy and economic and social cohesion are both priorities for the Bank.