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Caribbean-On-Line / St. Barts / Local Stuff / News / Digicel buys St. Barts cell phone operator

Digicel buys St. Barts cell phone operator

digicel-logo-150.jpgDigicel is an emerging company that has been spreading across the Caribbean region like volcano dust from Montserrat for the last five years (we have written a lot about them in our Caribbean Telecom News pages). There almost isn't an island that they don't provide cell phone service on. Usually they get a license and start their own network, but they just bought Bouygues Telecom Caraïbe, who provide service on St. Barths as well as Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.

Here is the press release:

"Digicel Completes Acquisition of Bouygues Telecom Caraïbe

Purchase of French West Indies Mobile Operator Brings Digicel to Milestone of 20 Markets in Five Years

KINGSTON, JAMAICA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 05/02/2006 -- Digicel Group, the fastest growing mobile telecommunications operator throughout the Pan-Caribbean region, announced today it has completed its acquisition of Bouygues Telecom Caraibe, the wholly owned subsidiary of Bouygues Telecom with assets in Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.

Bouygues Telecom Caraibe, which has over 160,000 subscribers and 2005 revenues of Euro 117 million (US$ 148 million), was purchased by Digicel Group at the price of Euro 155 million (US$ 196 million) after receiving approvals from the government regulator.

Digicel will add three new territories to its existing operations, bringing its total number of operations to a milestone 20 markets since its inception five years ago. With a current staff of approximately 80 people, Digicel looks forward to expanding its existing operations and becoming the leading mobile telecommunications provider in the French West Indies and throughout the Eastern Caribbean.

"We are delighted to welcome the employees and customers of Bouygues Telecom Caraïbe into the Digicel family as we continue our quest to create a seamless pan-Caribbean network," said Denis O'Brien, Chairman and Founder of Digicel Group. "We look forward to providing the residents and visitors of the French West Indian territories with our industry leading service and unmatched customer care."

"As we celebrate our fifth anniversary since our debut launch in Jamaica we are proud to have achieved this milestone of providing top-rate services in twenty nations," added Mr. O'Brien. "Digicel continues to maintain its position as the fastest growing telecommunications company in the Caribbean with a compound annualized growth rate of 69 percent."

In the past 14 months, Digicel has completed four acquisitions including Cingular Wireless' Caribbean and Bermuda operations. This acquisition of Bouygues Telecom Caraibe provides Digicel with an established pre-paid and post-paid customer base and an advanced GSM network in markets that are populated by more than one million people. The three territories have economies centered on the Euro as their functional currency and serve as a destination for international tourists including coverage areas in St. Barths and French St. Martin.

"Digicel is a dynamic company in the Caribbean that is bringing tremendous value to consumers by building a pan-Caribbean network that bridges the technology divide from one country to the next," said Philippe Montagner, Chairman and CEO of Bouygues Telecom. "We are confident that customers, employees and the overall community are in good hands and will benefit from Digicel's presence in the French West Indies."

Digicel plans to increase its subscriber base in the three territories by connecting with consumers and creating positive competition through value offerings and bold marketing. The transition process for Bouygues Telecom Caraïbe customers in the French West Indies is currently being planned as a seamless experience that adds Digicel offerings including the latest handsets, per second billing, prepaid roaming, and Rollover Minutes.

ABOUT DIGICEL

Since its launch in 2001, Digicel has become the fastest growing wireless telecommunications operator in the Caribbean. After five years, Digicel is renowned for competitive rates, unbeatable coverage, superior customer care, a wide variety of products and services, and state-of-the-art handsets. It is the largest GSM operator in the region.

By offering innovative wireless services and community support, Digicel has become a leading brand in the Caribbean and has placed the region at the cutting edge of wireless communications.

Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and has operations in 20 countries including Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, Curaçao, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barths and expects further exponential growth.

The company is the lead sponsor of Caribbean sports teams including the West Indies Cricket Team, Special Olympics teams across the Caribbean and is title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Football Union Cup, which involves over 30 Caribbean countries and is an important qualifier towards the CONCACAF Gold Cup."


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