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Greek Altnet Bags Further Funds

Ray Le Maistre
3/27/2008

Greek alternative operator ON Telecoms S.A. has landed €65 million ($103 million) in new funding to help expand its triple play business and take on incumbent operator OTE S.A. (See ON Telecoms Gets Funding.)

The new telco, which launched its IPTV, voice, and Internet service combo in January 2007, is run by a bunch of executives with previous experience at triple play operators such as Italy's Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) and Germany's HanseNet Telekommunikation GmbH , and claims to have attracted about 90,000 customers in the greater Athens area. (See ON Telecoms Launches IPTV and Keep On Keepin' ON.)

The operator was backed by ARGO Capital Partners Fund as it built out its 220km metro fiber network in the Attica region of southern Greece and installed its own ADSL2+-enabled DSLAMs in more than 60 local exchanges around the Greek capital. Now, ON Telecoms is looking to expand just as national operator OTE starts to ramp up its own broadband and IPTV activities and, potentially, gain a new parent. (See Deutsche Telekom to Buy OTE Stake and Thomson, Ericsson Bag IPTV Deals.)

By the end of 2007, ON Telecoms had invested about €70 million ($110 million) in its network and systems to pass roughly 1.35 million homes and 300,000 businesses, and now it plans to expand to other parts of Greece, where the broadband penetration is still one of the lowest in the European Union.

To fund that expansion, ON Telecoms has secured a €35 million ($55 million) loan from Greece's Proton Bank and is in the final stages of securing a government development grant of €30 million ($47 million).

The company had not responded to requests for further information, so it's not known at this stage how much extra ground it believes it can cover with those funds, or whether its next phase of investment will be focused on adding to the video- and VOIP-related infrastructure and OSS systems it has already deployed. (See Neptuny Wins in Greece, On Telecoms Uses Italtel, On Telecoms Uses Axioss, Orca Wins Greek Deal, Optibase Gets ON, Verimatrix Secures Greek IPTV, and ON Telecoms Launches IPTV.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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