The European Investment Bank (EIB) said it is lending Ecu65 million to France Telecom affiliate Globtel GSM, to help develop the second mobile telecomms network in the Slovak Republic.
The loan will help finance the installation of two switching centres, some 500 base stations, as well as 19 control stations with buildings, power supply equipment, antennas and microwave radio links, the bank said.
"This loan is an additional example of the EIB's strong involvement in the region's telecommunications sector, which is crucial for its economic development," the Luxembourg-based bank said.
"The EIB supports investment in both fixed and mobile network in all these countries, linking their networks with the one of the EU," it said.
An EIB spokesman said France Telecom holds 35 per cent of Globtel with the remaining shares held by Slovak companies in the gas, electric and power distribution sectors.
Globtel was set up last year and launched its service on 15 January this year and extended coverage in March to 50 per cent of the population, he said.
The loan is guaranteed by an international syndicate of banks led by ING Bank and including nine other European and Japanese banks, it said.
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