Telmex, Argentinian Firm Strike Telecom Deal

LOS ANGELES (07/10/2000) - Teléfonos de México SA de CV (Telmex) and Argentinian holding company Techint Group last week signed a partnership aimed at improving telecommunications in Argentina through local carrier Techtel SA.

Telmex and Techint are shareholders in Telecom Americas LLC, the owner of Techtel -- a voice, data and video solutions provider that recently won a license to start its local and long-distance call services in November, according to Claudio Ibáñez, Techtel's planning manager.

Techtel is about to complete the construction of a fiber-optic network in central Argentina and has operations in several cities covering some 50 percent of the country's population, Ibáñez said.

Telmex and Techint will invest approximately US$400 million in Techtel over the next five years and are planning to offer 600 jobs through the operation, according a press release issued by Telmex.

The agreement has yet to be approved by Argentina's regulators as well as by company's shareholders, Telmex said.

With headquarters in Buenos Aires and Milan, Italy, Techint owns some 100 worldwide ventures in telecommunications, toll roads, IT systems, waste management, natural gas transportation and distribution lines, with a permanent workforce of 33,000 employees, according to information on the company's Web site.

Telmex is Mexico's dominant carrier with stakes in telecom companies in the U.S., the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Early this year, Telmex acquired the former state-owned carrier in Guatemala. Telmex's officials have stated publicly that the company is interested in entering the Ecuadorean and Honduran telecommunications markets.

Last month, Telmex and Bell Canada International Inc. (BCI) announced a $3.5 billion joint venture. According to analysts, the venture will strengthen Telmex's presence in Brazil, where the company already co-owns Rio de Janeiro-based cellular carrier Algar Telecom. [See "Analysts Positive About Telmex-Bell Canada Venture," June 13.]Telmex, in Mexico City, can be reached at +525-222-5628 or http://www.telmex.com.mx.

Techtel is available at +5411-4340-7671 or http://techtel.com.ar/. Techint can be reached at http://techintgroup.com/.

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