Global Village Telecom (GVT) is a Brazilian telecommunications company founded in April 1998 by Israeli entrepreneurs Joshua Levinberg, Shaul Shani, and Amos Genish. Their idea was to build a satellite-based phone network for remote locations in South America using the very small aperture terminal (VSAT) technology that had been developed by Levinberg's previous start-up, Gilat Satellite Networks.
During 1998 and 1999 GVT won tenders to build phone networks in Colombia, Chile, and Peru in rural areas. Those areas included remote jungles and territories controlled by guerillas.
Bouyed by its success establishing telephone networks in these difficult areas, GVT was awarded a license in 1999 to provide fixed-line telecommunications services in Brazil's south and central regions. The region for which GVT won the license had a population of 38 million people and encompassed nine states, including the country's capital, Brasilia.
GVT invested $550 million over three years, building a network that was ready for the convergence of voice, data, and image. As a result of GVT's forward planning, the company has been able to offer higher than market average speeds since the beginning of its operation in 2000. Approximately 70% of annual company investment is dedicated to expansion and improvement of the network.
GVT now offers advanced landline telephone, broadband, high-definition pay TV, and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). GVT also serves the enterprise segment, offering integrated solutions and managed services including fixed-line telephony, unified communication systems, hosted VoIP, Internet services, private-data networks, and Data Center services.
In late 2009, the French company Vivendi bought GVT for $4.5 billion. On August 30, 2014, Vivendi announced the sale of GVT to Telefónica of Spain for $9.4 billion -- almost double the price Vivendi paid to purchase the company five years earlier.
The merged company, Telefónica Brasil, will have national coverage and will lead the market in mobile business and fixed ultra-broadband, while becoming the country's third largest pay-TV player. The company now has one of the best network infrastructures in Brazil, an innovative digital portfolio, and HD TV offered with video on demand, interactive applications, and multi-device content.
GVT CEO Amos Genish has been appointed Telefónica Brasil's new Executive Chairman. He has been chosen to lead the integration process of both companies and to define a clear strategy for the future.
Company website: www.gvt.com.br