Millicom International 

“Market Cap $10.22 B As of May 2014

At a Glance

  • Industry: Telecommunications services
  • Founded: 1990
  • Country: Luxembourg
  • CEO: Hans-Holger Albrecht
  • Website: www.millicom.com
  • Employees: 10,951
  • Sales: $5.16 B
  • Headquarters: Luxembourg

Forbes Lists

#1779 Global 2000

  • #1653 in Sales
  • #1869 in Assets
  • #1053 in Market value

Millicom International Cellular SA engages in providing communications, information, entertainment, solutions, financial, online and e-commerce services in emerging markets, using various combinations of mobile & fixed telephony, cable, broadband and internet businesses. Its product categories include communications, information, entertainment, solutions, and financial services. The company was founded on December 14, 1990 and is headquartered in Luxembourg.

“Millicom International History

We’ve had our lows as well, and we’ve turned them around.

1990-1999 : Building our brand from scratch

Millicom launched in 1990, many years before its successful Tigo brands, when the Swedish investment company, Kinnevik, and an American company, Millicom Incorporated, combined their mobile phone interests in twelve countries.

Back then we had already learned to demand more.

In May 1990 the New York Times described the pending arrival of wireless phones the size of a belt-buckle, and observed: “Millicom Inc., a small New York communications company, is the first out of the gate in the United States.”

Very soon, we were scoring a few more significant firsts, venturing into markets such as Russia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Philippines.

We focussed on pre-paid services using mass market distribution methods, whilst pioneering electronic airtime top-up. We were first movers in both per-second charging as well as airtime denominations below one dollar.

And all along, we were learning a lot from our mistakes too. 

2000-2004 : Crisis point, self-belief, then change

In 2002, our future looked very uncertain. Kinnevik – Millicom’s single largest investor  – wrote down its holding to zero. The stock market was in decline, the US Nasdaq market had lost almost three quarters of its value, and our share valuation, which had risen so fast there, was dropping away. 

The Annual Report that year warned : “We are not assured of achieving or maintaining profitability in the future, nor are we sure that we will always have sufficient resources to make payments on our indebtedness.”

The CEO at the time had to persuade investors to accept a debt rescheduling.

But to do that, Millicom had to ask itself tough questions about what it did and, more importantly, whether the company believed it could do it.

Were we really prepared to run mobile phone networks in Central America?

Our markets were then, and still are, among the most challenging, extending across Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia. Millicom stuck firmly to a vision: to make affordable, useful and fun services available to everybody. As soon as we were able to persuade everybody else, our recovery was swift and immediate.

By the end of 2003, our shares had climbed 3,000 per cent and Millicom was in profit.

And in 2004 our brand Tigo was born.

2005-2014 : Our comeback years 

As we expand in 2014, we celebrate the fact we now have more than 50 million customers.

Already, we are considered world leaders in Mobile Financial Services. while our television and broadband services via cable and satellite – under the brandname Tigo Star – roll out across Central and South America. 

Our online partnerships, which we launched in 2012, are established in 33 markets. 

Millions more customers are rapidly discovering online retail through us and learning how it can transform their lives.

Few companies currently listed on the Swedish Stock Exchange do what we do, or celebrate as diverse a background.

Our future is to continue to innovate, pioneer and add value to our services, promoting a consumer offering beyond basic communication services, building on mobile voice to include pay, satellite and cable TV, fixed and mobile internet access, mobile financial services, health and insurance as well as mobile and fixed corporate solutions and services.

Our challenging past has brought us to this exciting new chapter in the digital revolution.

Millions more within our markets are moving from those so-called “belt-buckle” handsets to affordable smartphones, so they too can enjoy the lifestyle.

We believe our history – with all its highs and lows – reflects our energy, passion and commitment to succeed. By demanding more of ourselves, we can give more to our customers.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Millicom.com

**Video published on YouTube by “Millicom International