Asia News (Apr 2015)

Thailand

CAT Telecom will reportedly complete the formation of Telecom Tower Company by Q3 2015 to optimise the management of its towers. CAT also aims to resolve ownership disputes on said towers with its concession holders Total Access Communication (DTAC) and TrueMove. Telecom Tower Co. should have 22,000 towers; 12,000 of these will be transferred from DTAC, 8,000 from TrueMove. The remaining 2,000 are already in CAT’s possession.

Thailand

The upcoming Thai spectrum auction for technology-neutral (4G) mobile spectrum (900MHz and 1800MHz) licences expected to take place by September is now in doubt in spite reassurances from the Deputy Prime Minister, Pridiyathorn Devakula. Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has stated that it still remains to be seen if these auctions could take place under present law. At the same time Thailand’s ICT Ministry has gone on the record saying that all disputes over state and private network ownership should be resolved before these auctions take place.

India

GTL is planning to sell off most of its assets to repay outstanding debts which amount to Rs.13,000 crore. GTL has received inquiries from investors in the UK and the US in the operations and maintenance part of its 28,000 towers, which is separate from its energy venture which is in the final stages of being sold to Intelligent Energy. The company is also looking into the possibility of diluting their promoter stake and entering into a joint venture. GTL’s problems began in 2013 when its acquisition of 17,000 of Aircel’s towers fell through after the regulatory restructuring in 2012.

India

Indus Towers will spend INR2.2 billion (US$35.1 million) to convert 3,000 street lamps in New Delhi into telecom towers over the next three years according to the Economic Times. The aim is to install 2G/3G/4G antennae on 1,000 sites per year across New Delhi. The sites will be upgraded with energy efficient LEDlights, CCTV cameras and Wi-Fi access points and will also be connected to the main fibre-optic networks in the metro area. The is the first initiative of Indus Towers in support of the development of connected cities across India.

Indonesia

Dian Siswarini has taken on the role of CEO of XL Axiata and is outlining her plans to boost the company’s brand and upgrade its data services. This move is in response to strong increase in demand for data; the company’s data traffic grew rapidly in 2013, increasing 126.7% to 123,824TB. Siswarini announced a combined brand strategy for XL and Axis, with XL focussing on the high bandwidth mobile data segment and Axis on more competitively priced products for lower-volume users. Axiata plans to invest IDR7 trillion (US$537 million) on upgrading its 3G and 4G services in 2015.

Indonesia

Solusi Tunas Pratama (STP) is planning a sale of its shares in Q2 2015 and expects to raise up to US$400 million. STP also sold a US$300 million five-year bond on the international markets earlier this year. The company owns over 6,000 towers in Indonesia after aquiring 3,500 towers from PT XL Axiata in 2014. STP is partly owned by US private equity firm Carlyle Group.

China

China Tower Company, the telecom infrastructure sharing company owned by China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom is reportedly set to take on ownership of nearly one million telecom towers according to analysts at Barclays. According to the report the three operators will receive gains totalling 148 billion yuan (US$23.88 billion). Barclays has estimated that China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom had 540,000, 279,000 and 180,000 towers respectively. Barclays also estimate that this joint venture would reduce capex by approximately 6% for a five-year saving of 76 billion yuan.

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