LISBON (Reuters) - The Portuguese unit of telecoms firm Altice is actively discussing expanding into financial services in 2019 and is in talks with two banks about how to do it, the company’s chief executive Alexandre Fonseca said.
“It’s a possibility [for next year], without a doubt,” Fonseca told Reuters, adding that his company is talking with two Portugal-based financial institutions about the project.
“We will continue to work to improve our services and be disruptive, not only in what we traditionally offer but also in areas we are less known for,” Fonseca said.
Fonseca did not say which institutions Altice Portugal, the country’s largest telecoms operator, had picked as potential partners, nor the type of services it hopes to deliver.
But he did say that the company wants to focus on digital channels within banks to develop a new generation of financial services.
“We [Altice group] try to diversify because today’s operator is not the same as it was 10 or 15 years ago,” Fonseca said. “A telecom today has to offer a wide range of services and products to the client.”
In 2017, French newspaper Le Parisien reported that Altice Europe, led by Patrick Drahi, considered creating a digital bank.
Fonseca said that project is on hold but that shouldn’t stop Altice Portugal from offering its own financial services to clients.
Altice Portugal would not be the first telecom to venture into the financial sector, with Orange Bank, part of French telecoms group Orange, hoping to get two million bank customers within 10 years.
Reporting By Catarina Demony and Sergio Goncalves, editing by Axel Bugge