SOURCE: Digicel

Digicel

August 06, 2009 12:41 ET

Digicel Announces Sponsorship of Tour de Timor

Digicel to Become the Major Commercial Sponsor of the Tour de Timor

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE--(Marketwire - August 6, 2009) - Digicel, the fastest growing mobile operator in the Pacific, today announced that it has secured a sponsorship agreement as the lead commercial sponsor of the Tour de Timor cycling event. The Tour de Timor is the principal sporting event for the historic 10th Anniversary of the Popular Consultation celebrations to be held in August 2009.

President of Timor-Leste and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, last month announced the inaugural Tour de Timor bicycle race, which will run from August 24th to 28th 2009. The event is a unique five day, 450km mountain-bike road-race, which has a lucrative prize pool of USD$75,000, and offers free registration and entry for participants. The Tour de Timor will be an unparalleled means for participants and supporters to experience Timor-Leste, travelling through nine of Timor-Leste's 13 Districts in just five days, with four nights in and amongst traditional villages of Timor-Leste.

President Ramos-Horta welcomed all participants and supporters to utilise the Tour de Timor as an opportunity to showcase the wondrous beauty of Timor-Leste, as well as contribute, alongside the President and people of Timor-Leste, to making the capital Dili a 'City of Peace' in 2009.

The first of what will be an annual event; Tour de Timor is being billed as a major sporting challenge but one delivered in the spirit of international peace. As President Ramos-Horta described it, "We Timorese have had the benefit of extraordinary international support for our commitment to the creation of a democratic, inclusive, and harmonious society. As we move towards achieving that goal, it is fitting that we celebrate our potential with friends and neighbours from across Timor-Leste and from overseas. Tour de Timor will bring people together in a spirit of friendly competition, where ultimately everyone's a winner."

President Ramos-Horta went on to say, "We extend a warm invitation to the Timor-Leste and International cycling community, and to anyone who wants to try -- even the Media! -- to join us on a unique journey through the world's newest nation. Journalists from television, radio and print are especially welcome to bring this exciting and unique event into the lives of people around the nation, and to our friends and adventure enthusiasts around the world."

"We are very pleased to have Digicel on board as the Major Commercial sponsor of the Tour de Timor. This is the inaugural event, and will help place Timor-Leste back in its rightful place on the world stage," President Ramos-Horta added.

Digicel Chairman, Denis O'Brien, said of the sponsorship, "Digicel is very proud to become the Major Commercial sponsor of the Tour de Timor, underpinning our commitment to the development of sport in Timor-Leste.

"Investing in the passions of our customers through sponsorships has been an integral part of the Digicel success story across the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, and in Timor-Leste the sponsorship of the Tour de Timor is our first sporting partnership and is indicative of our commitment to the people of Timor-Leste in the future.

"Our vision is that Timor-Leste will become a very important part of Digicel's seamless pan South Pacific network as we expand further across this region," Mr. O'Brien added.

Over the past eight years, Digicel has created the largest seamless GSM network in the Caribbean and Central America with operations in 31 countries covering a total population of more than 15 million and employing over 6,000 people. The company's investment in the region exceeds US$3.5 billion.

The Tour de Timor Organising Committee President Mr. Michael Stone expressed delight over the new sponsorship deal. "We are delighted that Digicel has committed to supporting this event. We have seen how Digicel's investment in sport and in particular rugby across the Pacific region has made a huge contribution to the development of the sport. We look forward to a long and rewarding partnership with Digicel.

"The benefits of Digicel's support have already been felt as the company's investment has enabled us to hold a world class event. Amongst its notable sports sponsorship portfolio to date, Digicel is lead sponsor of the West Indies cricket team, the Digicel Fiji 7s, the Digicel Caribbean Championships and 16 Football Federations and Associations throughout the Caribbean and Central America, including the Jamaica Football Federation, the Haiti Football Federation and the El Salvador Football Association; to name but a few."

Digicel Pacific has invested heavily in supporting and developing rugby in the region, and is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams across the Pacific including: Fiji Rugby, Digicel Fiji 7s, Digicel Tonga Ikale Tahi 7s and 15s, Manu Samoa, and the Digicel Vanuatu 7s and 15s. Digicel is also the proud sponsor of the Vanuatu Cricket team.

Digicel aims to develop sports in each market by investing in grassroots development programmes, coaching clinics and schools and clubs competitions. In Fiji, Digicel is the title sponsor of the national Rugby Union competition, the Digicel Cup -- which runs for eight months each year and sees local clubs around Fiji competing for the Cup.

ABOUT DIGICEL

Digicel's business strategy is to enter markets where mobile telecommunications customers and communities have been under serviced by local incumbents and enhance the lifestyles of local communities by placing nations at the cutting edge of wireless technology and challenging competitors in a manner that drives positive business development. Associated benefits of Digicel's presence in the market include job creation, investments in the economy and community support.

Founded in 2000, Digicel is the fastest growing GSM wireless telecommunications operator in the Caribbean and recent entrant to Central America with a seamless GSM network across 31 countries to date, covering a total population of 15 million people. The company has rapidly gained market share by offering competitive rates, unbeatable coverage, superior customer care, a wide variety of products and services, and state-of-the-art handsets as well as active participation in local communities.

Since its launch in the South Pacific in November 2006, Digicel has become the fastest-growing mobile operator in the Pacific, with current operations in Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Digicel recently announced that it has been awarded a GSM licence in the Republic of Nauru in its continued expansion of a Pan-Pacific GSM network. This latest acquisition strengthens Digicel's footprint in the region and creates the milestone of Digicel becoming the first mobile operator to offer mobile telecommunications services in Nauru. Digicel Nauru will offer affordable, innovative and accessible mobile services that meet consumers' evolving communication needs.

For more information on Digicel, visit www.digicelgroup.com or www.digicelpacific.com

TOUR DE TIMOR

Tour de Timor is a multi-stage bicycle race that is open to Timor-Leste and International cyclists. The race distance is approximately 450km, spanning the beautiful coastal and mountain environs of Timor-Leste. The race reaches altitudes of approximately 2000m, and when racing from sea level, this makes the hill stages on the Tour as challenging as any hill section in the world. The course has been designed to take riders through the most spectacular terrains of Timor-Leste: from high mountain ranges to tropical jungle, through the cool high-altitude coffee country and along the picturesque undulating coastlines. The course will start in Dili on the morning of Monday the 24th of August and end in Dili on Friday the 28th of August 2009. Arrival registration will occur on Saturday and Sunday 22/23 August 2009 at the new Presidential Palace in Dili.

The challenging circuit of the Tour de Timor travels from Dili on the first day to the old coastal city of Baucau, with 131km of undulating coastal roads through fishing villages and volcanic plains. Day two is a challenging climb taking riders over the ancient lands of Baucau and Viqueuque through the great mountains of Mundo Perdido and Matebian, and finishing at the FALINTL hill country town of Loihuno, Viqueque. Day three is a flat ride where competitors will ride through riverbeds and along bumpy roads through the stunning south coast through Natabora and Betano, Day 4 is the most challenging day with a near 2000m climb over the spine of the country, before a relieving downhill to the mountain retreat of Maubisse, under the careful watch of the soaring Mount Ramelau. The final day takes riders through undulating terrain, through beautiful rice paddy fields and thickly forested mountain coffee plantations with a dog-leg through the town of Gleno before a descent into Dili.

For more information please visit www.tourdetimor.com

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