The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided a EUR 250 million loan to Vivo S.A. for the establishment of its GSM overlay network in Brazil.

The project concerns the design, installation, commissioning and operation of a GSM overlay network operating in the 850 MHz frequency range in Brazil, together with the related investments in infrastructure, Operational Support Systems and IT systems, in order to support Vivo’s strategic migration from a CDMA based network to a GSM based network.

Vivo S.A. is a joint venture between Portugal Telecom SGPS. S.A and Telefonica S.A. from Spain. It is the largest mobile operator in Brazil, the 5th mobile telecommunication market in the world, and covered as at end-2007 around 70 % of the population. In line with the objectives given for EIB financing in Asia and Latin America by the European Council Decision of 19 december 2006, the project will contribute to transfer economic and technological knowledge by supporting and consolidating the strategic presence of these two European companies in the region and contributing to the European Commission policy and objective of promoting the adoption of open international telecommunications standards as the EU developed GSM. Aditionally, the project is an example of EIB cooperation and complementarity with an European commercial Bank who participate as guarantor of the EIB loan.

The project will also promote local economic development and improve overall business productivity in Brazil by increasing access to mobile telecommunication services.

This project represents EIB’s largest operation in Brazil since 1997, and the first under its new mandate for Asia and Latin America (ALA IV), which covers the period 2007-2013. Under this new mandate, the EIB is authorised to lend up to EUR 3.8 billion for financing operations supporting EU cooperation strategies in these regions and complementing other EU development and cooperation programmes and instruments in these regions. The EUR 3.8 billion regional ceiling is broken down into indicative sub-ceilings of EUR 2.8 billion for Latin America and EUR 1 billion for Asia.