Millicom, the parent company of Tigo, has announced a $250 million investment project in Panama that will see the telecoms provider extend coverage to some of the Central American country’s least connected areas, as well as creating a Panama fintech hub intended to expand mobile financial services throughout the region.
The move was announced recently following a meeting between Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos and Panama’s recently inaugurated President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, and will see Tigo Panama pump money into modernizing fixed and mobile networks to improve capacity and speed, while also expanding TV and internet services.
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The plan will extend coverage to some of the country’s lesser connected communities in the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Cocle, and Darien — helping the new government to reach one of its stated goals of closing the country’s digital divide.
Cortizo Cohen was reported by EFE as saying that the plan would impact 800,000 Panamanians “of which 200,000 had no coverage.”
The plan will also see Millicom establish a Panama fintech hub intended to help the company grow its financial services offerings throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Tigo Money, the company’s flagship mobile payment platform, reportedly doubled the number of financial transactions it handled over the past year.
According to Ramos, the plan will see Tigo triple its Panamanian workforce to reach 300 people, while also adding 143 mobile network sites to the 78 it already maintains in the country.
Panama fintech: a growth sector during the pandemic
Like almost all countries in the world, the coronavirus pandemic had a significantly adverse effect on Panama’s economy. However, like in many markets, online-based solutions, including delivery services and fintech saw significant increase in user uptake and growth.
Online payment technologies such as Yappy, Nequi, and PayU were other companies to see growth in Panama, along with Tigo Money, and can be expected to continue to grow into the future as they become an increasing part of normal daily life.
With Millicom committing to improving and expanding the coverage and quality of internet provision in the country, that should also increase the market for fintech in Panama, with Tigo among the many companies well-placed to capitalize.
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