Viettel wins Peru mobile phone license with $48 million bid

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Viettel Group won a bid to expand Peru's rural mobile-phone network, the government said.

The state-owned Vietnamese mobile phone company bid US$48 million for the 20-year license, said Peru's private investment promotion agency, Proinversion, in an e-mailed statement.

Viettel will invest more than $300 million within five years to provide free internet access to schools, health centers and municipal buildings and boost mobile phone coverage in the poorest areas of the country, the agency said.

Telefonica SA is Peru's biggest mobile phone operator, followed by the local units of America Movil SAB and NII Holdings Inc. Viettel won a license last year to become the nation's fourth mobile carrier and is building its network to begin offering service.

Viettel, which has already established a presence in Cambodia, Haiti, Laos and Mozambique, announced a plan early this year to expand to three or four new markets, aiming to double its phone subscribers overseas to 200 million.

The company needs a larger customer base so that it can invest more in new technologies, Deputy CEO Nguyen Manh Hung, told Dau Tu newspaper in February.

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