Telefonica to invest $12.5b in Latin America

Spanish telecom giant Telefonica plans to invest $12.5 billion in Latin America through 2009, Telefonica chairman Cesar Alierta was quoted in a report as saying.

A company spokesman said the investment would be split roughly between fixed line and mobile infrastructure, according to the report.

Alierta said 56% of Telefonica's clients were based in Latin America, 22% in Spain and the remainder in the rest of Europe.

'Telefonica is very grateful to Latin America, where we have invested 42 billion euros ($52.5 billion). We have as many clients as we do today and have grown to the size we now have, thanks to Latin America,' Alierta was quoted as saying.

'In the fixed line services segment, investment will be mainly directed to broadband Internet, given that this service will be essential for providing IPTV, once the regulators allow it,' Signals Consulting's VP Juan Gnius told BNamericas.

Gnius added that this investment plan placed Telefonica as a long-term investor in the Latin American region.

Earlier this week, Telefonica announced plans to invest $1.5 billion in its Chilean unit through 2009, mostly in networks and infrastructure.