Millicom International Cellular SA is an international telecommunications and media company, founded by Shelby Bryan, Jan Stenbeck, Telma Sosa, and Olvin Galdamez. It offers a wide range of digital services to more than 51 million customers primarily under the Tigo brand in eleven markets in Africa and Latin America.

Millicom International Cellular SA
Traded asNasdaq Stockholm: MIC_SDB NASDAQ: TIGO
IndustryTelecommunications, Media
Founded1990 in Stockholm
Headquarters2 Rue du Fort Bourbon, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Area served
Africa, Hispanic America
Key people
Mauricio Ramos (President and CEO)
Allen Sangines-Krause (Chairman of the Board)
ProductsMobile, cable, satellite, pay-TV, broadband, Mobile Financial Services, B2B and online services
Revenue$6.02 billion in 2017
Total assets$10.36 billion (2016)[1]
Number of employees

Millicom was one of the earliest pioneers of mass consumer mobile telephony and was formed in 1990 when Millicom Incorporated merged with the Swedish investment company Investment AB Kinnevik. Since then, the firm has seen annual revenue grow to $6.02 billion, driven mainly by mobile phone services and, increasingly, by data, with an expanding portfolio of cable, satellite, broadband, B2B, Mobile Financial Services and other media.

The same year, Millicom announced a new business strategy around monetising data and building cable,[2] with the stated ambition to become the 2nd largest Pay-TV operator in Spanish-speaking Latin America. Millicom's cable footprint grew in 2015 to 7.6 million homes passed and exceeded nine million by the end of 2017.

The company's Mobile Financial Services account for more than 40 percent of the total number of active mobile money subscribers in Latin America. In Africa, Millicom set up the continent's first ever universal interoperable mobile money network through its Tigo Pesa brand in Tanzania that includes Airtel, Zantel and Vodacom. Tanzania is considered to be a world leader in terms of mobile money customization.

Millicom employs 18,802 people, has corporate offices in London, Miami and Luxembourg, and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm under the symbol MIC_SDB.


Millicom originated as a company set up by Jan Stenbeck to operate voice and data distribution networks via cellular radio.[3][4] In Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.[5] it received one of three of the first cellular development licenses awarded by the FCC.

After two years of planning, the company began operations when the founders completed a $131,000 share purchase in May 1982. The firm took over paging company Meta Systems in October 1982 and then raised $9 million in its first round of financing, managed by Chief Executive Officer, Orhan Sadik-Khan and Kevin Kimberlin.[6][7]

Since 92% of the world population had no phone service at the time, Millicom promoted mobile technology on a global basis.[8] To do this, Millicom created joint-ventures with local and strategic partners.

On 13 December 1982, a joint-venture with Racal Electronics was awarded a cellular license for Great Britain. To enable Millicom to earn its 10% royalty from Racal-Millicom, a controlling shareholder, Stenbeck commissioned a startup with two employees, Technophone, to develop the world's first pocket-sized mobile phone.[9] Highlighting its plans to offer the Voice and Data phone (predecessor to the smartphone), his Racal-Millicom joint-venture was renamed Vodafone.[10]

On 12 October 1983, Millicom Inc. created China Telecom Systems (HK), a joint-venture with partners China Resources Ltd. and Comvik, a Swedish mobile firm also controlled by Jan Stenbeck.[11] China Telecom (not to be confused with the current state-owned company founded in 2002) held the first cellular telephone contract in China, making its service available to the public on 20 May 1985.[12]

In December 1989, Millicom set up Microtel Communications Ltd. by teaming up with Pacific Telesis and British Aerospace (later bought out by Hutchinson Telecom.)[13] Microtel was awarded a personal communication network (PCN) license to compete with Vodafone in Great Britain, a service launched on 28 April 1994 under its brand name, Orange.[14] This venture was acquired in October 1999, at which time Orange and its new parent, Mannesmann, were in turn both taken over by Vodafone. At a value of $202 billion,[15] the takeover of Mannesmann by Vodafone was the largest transaction in corporate history.[16][17] Orange (formerly Microtel) was then sold to France Telecom, which subsequently changed its corporate name to Orange.[18][19]

To better manage their respective mobile interests, Millicom Inc. combined with Comvik's international cellular operations to become Millicom International Cellular SA in 1990, which now operates under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.[20]

Latin America


Tigo launched in 2004, replacing former national brands COMCEL and Amigo de COMCEL to become the country's largest mobile operator with more than nine million customers and market share of 53.4 percent (2015). Mobile penetration is estimated at 112 percent (as measured by GSMA, 2017) with internet penetration at 27 percent (World Bank, 2015). Tigo also provides mobile financial services through Tigo Money, as well as broadband, cable and business solutions. Millicom equity holding 55 percent. (Q1 2014)[21]

El Salvador

Tigo launched in 2004 to replace the former national brand Telemovil and is now the country's largest mobile operator with three million customers and a market share of 37.8 percent (2015). Tigo is also El Salvador's largest broadband and cable service provider and offers satellite DTH services, mobile financial services under the brand Tigo Money, as well as corporate and B2B solutions. Millicom equity holding is 100 percent. (Q1 2014)


Tigo launched in 2004 to replace the former national brand CELTEL. It is now the leading mobile service provider in a country of eight million, with an estimated 4.8 million customers. Its mobile market share is placed at 66 percent. Tigo also offers broadband, cable, business, satellite, mobile health insurance and financial services. Millicom equity holding is 66.7 percent.


Tigo launched in 2004 and is now the largest mobile operator with 3.8 million subscribers from a population of 6.7 million (World Bank 2012). Tigo Home has become market leader for pay TV and fixed broadband services since its launch in 2014, alongside Millicom's first DTH satellite service. Tigo's mobile market share is 56.4 percent. Other key services and products fall under the Tigo Business brand and under Tigo Sports and Tigo Money. Millicom equity holding is 100 percent.

Exclusive Channels of Tigo TV Paraguay

Tigo Sports

Launched in 1994 as a Pay TV Channel and Digital sports content provider, this was the first sports media launched in all operations in Millicom. Originally known as Teledeportes Paraguay, a sports producing company that evolved into broadcast of events and programs 24/7. Its headquarters named "Tigo Sports Media House" is based in Fernando de la Mora and is among the best equipped studios in the region with 2 studios of 400 sq mts. Tigo Sports owns its own fleet of OB Vans and has over 150 employees.

Sportive Events of Tigo Sports and Tigo Sports Plus

  • Paraguayan Primera División (six games per matchday)
  • División Intermedia (Two games per matchday)
  • Primera B (occasionally)
  • Paraguay Cup of Soccer
  • La Liga
  • Ligue 1
  • CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers
  • Paraguayan Basketball League (One or two games per week during season)
  • Paraguayan Volleyball League (One game per week during season)
  • Paraguayan Futsal League (One game per week during season)
  • Paraguayan Futsal FIFA League (One game per week during season)
  • Paraguayan Rugby League
  • Olympic Qualifiers FIBA Américas (2018–19)

Other international sports rights that were part of the grid included:

  • NBA (Shared with ESPN, DIRECTV Sports and NBA TV, seasons 1998/99, 2015/16 and 2016/17)
  • Premier League (Shared with ESPN, DIRECTV Sports, seasons 2014/15 and 2015/16)
  • FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014
  • Copa America Chile 2015
  • Copa America Centenario (USA) 2016
  • FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Tigo Max

Launched in 1992 as a pay-per-view channel

Sportive events of Tigo Max

Tigo Music

Tigo SAT Network

Launched in January 1995 as a 24-hour variety Pay TV channel.

Telenovelas broadcast on Tigo SAT Network


Unicanal was a 24-hour Pay TV cable purchased in October 2012 by the merger with Cablevision Paraguay (property of Grupo Clarin Argentina). It began operations on 15 December 1989, when it started broadcasting at 5:45 AM. During its time as propriety of Tigo Paraguay, genres included in the grid included News, Entertainment, Realities, Health, Magazines, alternating between local content and argentinian content provided by El Trece Argentina (also part of Grupo Clarin) In February 2014, local soccer broadcast was translated from Unicanal to Tigo's new Pay TV cable, Tigo Sports, dedicated to sports 24/7. In February 2015, Tigo sold the operations of Unicanal to JBB Group, a company owner of Radio Disney, specialized in media, entertainment, distribution and in real estate.


Tigo operates in Nicaragua - formed from the merger of Navega & Amnet in 2013 and compete with three other corporate network operators that combine mobile voice, 3G, 4G Networks and cable broadband.

Costa Rica

TigoStar is the country's leading pay TV operator with more than 30 years of service under different brand names dating back to Millicom's acquisition of Amnet in 2008.


Tigo launched in 2005 by a merger with TELECEL (a native Bolivian brand) and is now the second largest mobile operator in Bolivia (population 10.5 million – World Bank 2012) with more than 3.4 million customers. Tigo Bolivia competes with Entel and Nuevatel PCS (under the brand name Viva). Branded services include Tigo Money, Tigo Star and Tigo Sports, Tigo Business and Tigo Smart. In 2014, Bolivia launched Millicom's first satellite DTH service. Millicom equity holding is 100 percent.


Tigo Colombia launched in 2006 and is Colombia's third largest mobile service provider with more than seven million customers. Its services include Tigo Money and UNE internet and broadband, with significant further market penetration anticipated in 2014 following a Merger Framework Agreement signed in 2013 with UNE EPM Telecomunicaciones, of the Empresas Publicas de Medellin group. Millicom also has a growing portfolio online in retail and services. Equity holding is 50 percent plus one share.

Exclusive Channels of TigoStar Colombia:

  • Tigo Sports

Genre: Sports

Broadcasting: 24 Hours

Launched: 7 April 2014 at 05:00 Description: The Colombian Second Sports Channel with sports broadcasting rights including: Categoria Primera C (seven games per match day), Copa Colombia (three matches per round), Premier League (up to six games per match day), Greek Super League (four games per match day)



Tigo launched in 2005 and is now the country's leading mobile service provider with 2.65 million customers from a population of 12.4 million (World Bank 2014). While mobile penetration is estimated at 40.2 percent (Millicom 2014), Mobile Financial Services have launched strongly. Tigo's mobile market share of the market is estimated at 53.8 percent. Millicom equity holding is 100 percent.

 Democratic Republic of the Congo

Tigo DRC launched in 2007 and is the country's second-largest mobile service provider. In Q1 2014 it reported more than four million customers.[22] In 2013 it returned to the troubled eastern Kivu region, and is expanding further into neighbouring Katanga province. Tigo Cash Mobile Financial Services were launched in 2012. Mobile penetration DRC is estimated at 49.1 percent.[23] Tigo DRC holds 30.4 percent of market share. Millicom equity holding is 100 percent.

On 8 February 2016 it was announced that Orange were acquiring Tigo DRC subject to regulatory approval.


Tigo is one of six leading mobile service providers competing in Ghana (population 25.4 million). It numbers 3.7 million customers (Q2 2014) – more than 17 percent of market share. Mobile penetration is estimated at 81.2 percent (Millicom 2014). Tigo Ghana's mobile financial services team has won notable recognition and awards for products and deployment. Millicom equity holding is 100 percent.

In March 2017 it was announced that Millicom and Airtel had signed an agreement to combine operations in Ghana subject to regulatory approval.


Tigo is Rwanda's second largest mobile service provider and the first to offer 3G internet (in 2013). In 2014 Millicom opened a tech incubator in the capital Kigali to develop new digital solutions for Africa. Q2 2014 reported more 2.2 million customers (population 11.5 million - World Bank 2014) and a mobile market share of 40.5 percent. Mobile penetration is estimated at 49.7 percent. Millicom equity holding is 87.5 percent.

In December 2017 it was announced that Millicom and Airtel had signed an agreement to combine operations in Rwanda subject to regulatory approval.


Tigo Senegal launched in 2006 and is the second largest mobile service provider, with 3.2 million customers (population 13.7 million – WB 2014). Mobile penetration is estimated at 73.1 percent with Tigo's mobile market share placed at 31.3 percent (Q2 2014). Heavy investment through 2013/2014 has led to expanded and improved networks and the licence granted in 2014 to pilot 4G technology. Millicom has presence in online and mobile financial services. Millicom equity holding is 100 percent.

In February 2017 it was announced that Wari Group were acquiring Tigo Senegal subject to regulatory approval.

Tigo Sénégal was sold to a Group (consortium) named Saga Africa Holdings in April 2018;[24][25] then renamed Free Sénégal in October 2019[26][27].


Tigo Tanzania is Tanzania's second largest mobile services provider, with more than 11 million customers. More than 46 percent of tigo Tanzania customers use MFS. Tigo Tanzania was also the first service provider in East Africa to offer free Facebook data downloading. Its mobile market share is placed at 29.8 percent (Q2 2014). Mobile penetration in Tanzania is estimated to be 47.3 percent. In 2015, Millicom completed the acquisition of an 85% stake in Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel) [28]

Tigo Cash

Tigo Cash is a mobile phone–based money transfer service offered with Tigo phones in eleven countries including Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ghana.[29][30]


  1. "Millicom International on the Forbes Global 2000 List". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-05-28.
  2. "Millicom's Q4 and FY 2015 Results" (PDF). 10 February 2015.
  3. "Millicom 25th Anniversary". Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  4. "Stenbeck transforms Swedish family firm into major online investor". Reuters. 2017-06-22. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  5. Forester, Tom, "The Information Technology Revolution," MIT Press, page 142.
  6. Cuff, Daniel F. (1982-11-04). "BUSINESS PEOPLE; Millicom Continues Management Growth". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-28.
  7. Orhan Sadik-Khan interview, August 1995
  8. Millicom Incorporated, Joint Proxy Statement/Prospectus, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, September 20, 1982
  9. Hultén, Stephan and Mölleryd, Bengt, "Entrepreneurs, Innovations and Market Processes in the Evolution of the Swedish Mobile Telecommunications Industry," Paper presented at the Eighth International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society Conference, 28 June – 1 July 2000. NMT PCS | Privateline Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Merriden, Trevor, "Rollercoaster, the Turbulent Life and Times of Vodafone and Chris Gent," Capstone Publishing, 2003. page 21.
  11. Baran, Paul, "China Telecom Joint Venture with the PRC Put On Hold," Hong Kong Standard, October 30, 1985, page 1.
  12. Robinson, Peter; "Mobile Cellular Radio Phones to be Introduced," New China Morning Post, May 20, 1985, page 2.
  13. "History of Cellular Services".
  14. "The Facts : 2004". p. 107.
  15. "Vodafone seals Mannesmann merger". BBC. February 11, 2000.
  16. Monaghan, Angela; "The 10 biggest deals: how Vodafone's sale of its Verizon stake would compare." The Guardian, September 2, 2013.
  17. Holliday, Katie: "The 10 largest M&A deals of all time" Investment Week, February 8, 2012
  18. "France Telecom buys Orange for $37 bn". The Financial Express. 30 May 2000. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  19. "France Telecom clinches Orange deal". BBC. 30 May 2000. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  20. "MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL CELLULAR SA, Form 20-F/A, Filing Date Jan 13, 2005" (PDF). Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  21. "UPDATE 1-Millicom flags "potential improper payments", shares dive". Reuters. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  22. (population 65.7 million – World Bank 2012)
  23. (Millicom 2014)
  24. Malick Ciss; Olivier Monnier (21 April 2018). "Senegal Approves Sale of Tigo to Group Led by French Billionaire". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  25. Mfonobong Nsehe (21 April 2018). "French Billionaire Xavier Niel Acquires Tigo Senegal". Forbes. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  26. Théau Monnet (1 October 2019). "Télécoms : Tigo Sénégal devient Free Sénégal, Xavier Niel pose sa marque sur le continent". Jeune Afrique (in French). Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  27. Matteo Maillard; Marie de Vergès (3 October 2019). "Télécoms : Free vient concurrencer Orange au Sénégal". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  28. "Millicom Completes Zantel Acquisition" (PDF). 26 October 2015.
  29. "Tigo introduces cross-border money transaction". The Standard Group. 3 March 2014.
  30. "Mobile Money - Payment Processing Partners". Government of Ghana Official Portal. Archived from the original on 2 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
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