August 2017 marked three years since the merger, and we are pleased with the results. The merger put us in a great position in Colombia. We are now the second-largest telecom operator in the industry. Before, Tigo was only mobile and Une was only fixed; we were accomplishing half of what consumers wanted. Our results are great during an extremely tough year. We had to do a great deal of work internally, reshape our investments, and work hard to not affect our consumers. Some regulations changed the way we operate, putting the industry in a tough position. However, we sustained our company. We expect to return to growth in 2018. To do this, our number-one priority is to connect more Colombians. Colombia has many opportunities; we have only 15% penetration of 4G in Colombia. We are one of the slowest-growing countries in Latin America in this segment. In terms of residential TV and broadband internet, we are at 50% penetration. We grew our fixed network by 60% since the merger. We cover over 50 new cities and more area. Our portfolio includes around 11.5 million customers and of those, we have nearly 160,000 companies. Our second priority is to better understand our customers in order to provide better services.
CEO, Virgin Mobile
2017 was the best year for the company so far. We have been in the market for five years now. The main accomplishment was to stabilize and make a profit well ahead of the business case. Our numbers are all black in terms of net profits, cash flow, EBITDA, and others. We have also finished our checklist of financial health and are extremely pleased with the outcome. One highlight that we are proud of is our number-one ranking regarding quality of service by the regulator. Since the regulator began polling the market, we have ranked number one, and 2017 was no exception. It is important for us to be recognized by our customers and our competitors’ customers as the best mobile service in the country. A second highlight is our introduction of a new line of business, pursuing fans of soccer teams. We launched our first product with one of the most popular soccer teams, America de Cali, and expect more teams to join this year. The third accomplishment for our shareholders was to return the highest EBITDA of the region. We will stay oriented to the end user and regular consumers. Larger players have to play in the B2B arena; however, we are focused exclusively on B2C.
President, Ignacio Roman Vila
Phe company was established in 2007 to deliver a service called push-to-talk. It targeted large corporates such as Ecopetrol, the national police, security companies, and transport companies such as TransMilenio of Bogotá, with a special service based on push-to-talk technology. The company was successful and in 2013 it decided to bid for LT spectrum. Avantel currently manages two different products: push-to-talk and broadband mobile. In 2017, the company was recognized as the fastest LT network in Latin America. The corporate segment is extremely important and comprises one-third of our total revenues. It is not only a matter of service revenues because we have had great partnerships with many of the largest corporations that are leaders in sectors such as security, oil, and the government. We have been the leader in the country in the last seven to eight years and have had long-term partnerships with most of our large customers, which are still truly important for the company. When we set up the LT network, it was set to ensure that we could also deliver quality broadband services to our corporate customers. We deliver fiber in Bogotá and Medellín; our network is placed in the business areas of those cities as well as other major cities.
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