Monday, 13 January 2014

Ooredoo signs towers pact

Ooredoo Myanmar, part of Qatar’s Ooredoo Group, has signed an agreement with shareholders of Indonesian tower company Protelindo, and emerging markets-focused telecom operator Digicel for the rollout of mobile towers in Myanmar to help offset the cost of investment, TMT Finance understands. Sources confirmed that a group of Protelindo shareholders were forming a towerco to invest in Myanmar.

Bankers also said Ooredoo and Telenor, which also won a mobile licence in Myanmar, were holding advanced discussions with banks over financing packages, likely to be ‘in the high double digits’, adding that this amount would increase as or when fresh capital was required.

Telenor has also signed a towers agreement with Apollo Towers, which will act as an official vendor to build and manage telecommunications infrastructure in preparation for
mobile network roll-out in Myanmar. Apollo Towers is a subsidiary of Tillman Global Holdings LLC- a Delaware LLC wholly owned by Sanjiv Ahuja.

It’s still unclear if Telenor and Ooredoo plan to partner resources for the rollout of towers in Myanmar, with the pair previously thought to be in disagreement over the key terms of a deal. “[Ooredoo and Telenor] …partnering together would save a significant amount of money. Both are required to establish similar coverage - should they choose to roll out networks separately there will be a major overlap,” one source commented.

Prior to the licence auction, Digicel is thought to have invested around US$27m in acquiring sites in the country, in the hope it would be successful in the auction. After failing to win a licence, the telco changed tack, reinventing itself as a tower company and bringing in local partners to form Myanmar Tower Company, which it said it will be among the first to begin construction in Myanmar. Sources said this wasn’t necessarily circumstantial, and said Digicel may look to invest in towers in other countries.

Myanmar plans to expand its mobile network to accommodate 4 million new 3G subscribers during 2014, bringing the total number to 10 million users, according to local reports.

source: TMTFianance
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