Acquiring Warid Telecom? : In-market consolidation good: VimpelCom

ISLAMABAD (MEDIA)

As news in telecom sector are spreading about telecoms group VimpelCom, which also owns Mobilink Pakistan, that it’s eyeing a bid for Warid Telecom, VimpelCom believes that in-market consolidation would be positive for Pakistan.

A spokesperson for VimpelCom telecoms, responding to Daily Times’ query to this scribe declined to comment on the news saying that ‘we don’t comment on market rumours’, however, expressing optimism he said that ‘we believe that in-market consolidation would be positive for Pakistan’.

Earlier, an international news agency citing its sources reported that telecoms group VimpelCom has agreed to sell two of its sub-Saharan assets for about $100 million and is bidding for Pakistan’s mobile operator Warid Telecom.

Meanwhile, VimpelCom’s Head of Media Relations Artem Minaev, while sharing development plans regarding its subsidiary Mobilink Pakistan, which is a leading mobile operator in Pakistan said, “We are actively engaged in a discussion about 3G licences with all stakeholders in the industry and we believe that the industry is now ready to take its next step in Pakistan riding the 3G wave.”

However, he has discarded possibility of any negative impact on the 3G investments of Mobilink translating from aforementioned rumours, as he said that ‘nevertheless our intentions concerning 3G licences are not connected to rumours about Warid Telecom acquiring’.

Ambiguity over 3G auction in Pakistan can demoralise the international telecom giant as the company, showing great willingness to invest in Pakistan for 3G technology has signed several agreements following the announcement of 3G auction date from last government.

But, besides some statements of new state Minister for Information Technology, no development regarding 3G auction has been observed as yet. VimpelCom is also looking for announcement of date for 3G auction as Minaev informed Daily Times that ‘no clear dates have been communicated by the government officials yet. But as announced on November 8 last year, we have signed a five-year agreement with leading vendors to upgrade the network and make it 3G ready’.

Elaborating on the details of agreements with five vendors regarding 3G, he said ‘the vendors will provide for the design, purchase, deployment and maintenance of next-generation mobile network equipment and supporting services from two of the world’s leading global providers’.

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