WOM Chile filed for bankruptcy protection in the US, a voluntary process the operator insisted will enable it to restructure to cover bond payments due later this year while continuing to meet government coverage commitments.

CEO Chris Bannister stated the Chilean service provider sought Chapter 11 protection in a US bankruptcy court after concluding the move is its best option to remain viable. He added the company is focused on its long-term potential and ensuring sufficient liquidity to cover future investments.

WOM noted the closing of a DIP financing agreement with JP Morgan worth $200 million will “provide key resources” to support existing operations alongside growth opportunities.

Bannister said WOM’s “commitment to connect millions of Chileans” to 5G and “thereby reduce the digital divide” is undiminished. The operator “dared to offer fair prices” and intends to “continue working with the same passion that characterises us”.

Bloomberg noted WOM’s strategy was to build market share with low-cost plans. The news outlet placed the operator’s liabilities at $1.8 billion at end-2023 and reported an attempt to refinance $348 million in debt due in November had been unsuccessful.

WOM entered the Chilean mobile market in 2015 and claims a 25.8 per cent market share with more than 8 million customers.

It emphasised the Chapter 11 move “does not imply the liquidation or bankruptcy of the company”, instead providing a chance to deal with “creditors and other stakeholders” along with seeking fresh finance opportunities.