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01 septembre 2008

Millicom / Tigo Launches 3G Services Across Latin America, next step Africa

Millicom International Friday announced that it has launched 3G services in Guatemala, Honduras and Bolivia. The launches in Paraguay, El Salvador and Colombia will follow Friday, on Sep. 2 2008 and before the end of this year respectively, completing the roll-out of 3G across all six of its markets in Latin America.

Millicom is providing the full portfolio of 3G services including high speed mobile broadband, internet access for mobile customers via laptop, TV on mobile handsets, music and video downloads and video calling.

Marc Beuls, President and CEO of Millicom commented; "The launch of 3G services in Latin America is the first step in the process of meeting the needs of our higher ARPU customers for broadband services. Broadband is expected to be a significant growth segment in these markets and one which we expect will be an important driver to our businesses going forward."

Millicom International Cellular
Latin America has one of the fastest growing customer bases for GSM technology, and Millicom International Cellular capitalized on this early. The Luxembourg company, which offers pre-paid cellular phone service in developing countries, including parts of Africa, Asia and South and Central America, added 963,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year alone, reaching a total of 9.9 million customers. Much of this growth did indeed come from Latin America, where the company launched the new Tigo brand, cleaned up its distribution and increased capacity and coverage. What sets Millicom apart from competitors there is that it allows customers to buy minutes in very small denominations, thus giving them more flexibility. It also uses non-traditional distribution methods, including street vendors and freelancers and lets customers top up their minutes via text message, rather than pre-paid cards. Millicom recently bought out two if its minority partners, Sentel GSM in Senegal and Telefonica Celular del Paraguay, but is facing a possible buyout by China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd., which is expected to pay $48-$49 a share, placing Millicom's value at between $5.2 and $5.3 billion. All these developments have translated into benefits for its investors, who have seen stock returns of 152.5%.

Company Snapshot
Millicom International Cellular and its subsidiaries provide mobile telephone services worldwide. It offers prepaid cellular telephony services using mass market distribution methods. As of December 31, 2005, the company had approximately 8.9 million subscribers, as well as 17 mobile operations in 16 countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in Central America; Bolivia and Paraguay in South America; Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mauritius, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania in Africa; Pakistan and Sri Lanka in South Asia; and Cambodia and Laos in Southeast Asia. Millicom was founded in 1968 and is based in Bertrange, Luxembourg.