Posts filed under ‘Reuters’
Turk Telekom announced, in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange, that an investment mandate decision had been agreed at a board meeting earlier this week, reports Reuters. ‘The decision was reached for the extraordinary general meeting… to mandate the management board for any kind of company purchases for up to USD1 billion within 2009,’ the company said. The extraordinary general assembly is scheduled to meet on 25 February. Although the operator did not reveal any particular acquisition targets, the company did submit a preliminary, non-binding bid for the Macedonian wireless operator Cosmofon last month.
In other news, Turk Telekom’s wireless subsidiary Avea announced this week that it had gained a net 244,000 subscribers since number portability was introduced in Turkey. Science Technologies and Communication Council (BTK) President Tayfun Acarer announced that 1.3 million subscribers have attempted to take advantage of number portability, which requires cellcos to allow customers to keep their phone numbers when switching to a different service provider, since it was introduced on 10 November 2008.
Italian service provider Tiscali aims to finalise the sale of its British operations by the end of March 2009, Reuters reports citing comments by the company’s chief executive Marco Rosso. In November 2008 it was revealed that Tiscali was in talks with BSkyB regarding the UK-based subsidiary, but disagreements over the value of the assets saw the discussions stall. Tiscali had said it expected to raise GBP600 million (USD856 million) from the sale but BSkyB valued the unit at GBP450 million. Mr Rosso also said that Tiscali is planning for the eventuality that it may not divest interest in the UK arm; ‘We have a plan approved internally for one option or the other, nothing is excluded. The major effort is concentrated on reaching agreement on a sale.’
MagtiCom, Georgia’s second largest cellco by subscribers, has launched an HSDPA network in the country, according to Reuters. MagtiCom, which is 50.1% owned by US-based Metromedia International Group, said the 3.5G technology will provide its customers with faster internet browsing and video and music downloads. It hopes the launch will make it more competitive in the wireless market and help to close the gap in market share between itself and nearest rival Geocell, a subsidiary of TeliaSonera, which launched its HSDPA platform in July 2008. At the end of September 2008 MagtiCom had a market share of 41.87%, compared to Geocell’s 46.89%.
Reuters is reporting that Kuwait-based telecoms giant Zain is in discussions aimed at taking a stake in Palestinian fixed line and broadband provider Palestinian Telecommunications Company (Paltel). A spokesman for Zain confirmed that talks between the two companies are at ‘advanced’ stages, and a deal could be concluded soon. It has not been confirmed however whether Zain is pursuing a majority in stake in Paltel, and trading in the latter company has been suspended on the Palestine stock exchange until any further announcements are made by the operators regarding the merger.
Thailand’s telecoms regulator told reporters this morning that it expects to stick to its rough timetable of issuing private companies with 3G UMTS mobile licences in the 2100MHz frequency band by the third quarter of this year, according to Reuters. Settaporn Kusripitak, one of the seven members of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), indicated that an auction of four licences remained the most probable method of awarding the concessions, but the decision on whether this will go ahead will be made on 5 February. The NTC has also scheduled issuing WiMAX wireless broadband licences by mid-year.
Reuters is reporting that Norwegian telecoms group Telenor has withdrawn plans to carry out a share issue to fund investment in Indian cellco Unitech Wireless. Telenor has announced it will instead raise funds for the mobile operator through cash flow and net debt, also revealing that it has signed a USD1.2 billion three-year loan agreement. The company has also proposed that there will be no dividend payout in 2008 or 2009. Commenting on the development a statement from the operator noted, ‘Closing of the Indian transaction is subject to certain conditions being fulfilled…(and) Telenor anticipates that this will take place during the first quarter of 2009.’
In separate but related news, Unitech Wireless is reportedly in talks regarding a tower sharing arrangement with Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Tata Teleservices (TTSL). A tower sharing agreement is one of the preconditions of the Telenor acquisition of a 60% stake in Delhi-based Unitech Wireless.
Saudi Telecom company (STC) has won Bahrain’s third mobile network operating licence with a bid of BHD86.7 million (USD231 million), the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced yesterday, breaking the duopoly of state-run Batelco and Kuwaiti-owned Zain. According to Reuters, STC plans to launch its Bahraini operations in the second half of this year and aims to acquire a 20% market share in ten years. The Saudi telco has also committed itself to establishing a USD300 million venture capital fund in Bahrain that will nurture communications and IT companies in the region. Three other firms had registered interest in the auction, but did not bid. Mohammed al-Amer, chairman of the TRA, confirmed that these were Bahraini operators 2Connect and Mena Telecom alongside a consortium including France Telecom subsidiary Jordan Telecom. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have strong links, as several million people cross a causeway linking the two kingdoms every year.