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Mon 9 May 2011 04:39 PM

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Saudi Telecom to invest $450m in Indonesia operations

State-owned teleco eyeing acquisitions to expand footprint outside domestic market

Saudi Telecom to invest $450m in Indonesia operations
SYRIA BID: State-run Saudi Telecom Co (STC) is optimistic about winning Syrias third mobile licence award but is yet to hear when the next stage of the auction will resume

State-owned Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Saudi Arabia’s largest phone operator, plans to invest around $450m in its Indonesian operations, a senior executive said Monday

The telco, which in March increased its stake in Indonesia’s Axis, said it will look to increase its broadband wireless network in the Southeast Asian country.

“We are [investing in expansion in Indonesia]…This year it will be in the region of $450m,” said Ghassan Hasbani, CEO, international operations for Saudi Telecom.

The investment will be for debt financing and will be announced in a few weeks, he said on the sidelines of an industry event in Dubai.

“We have investment tagged for Indonesia because that’s a big growth market and we have a lot of growth potential in that market,” Hasbani said.

“We’re driving the company towards broadband, we’re focusing on delivering what others may find difficult to deliver in the Indonesian market given that there are a lot of constraints on bandwidth and capacity.”

STC faces increased competition from Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Zain Saudi in its domestic market and is eying acquisitions across the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf, said Hasbani.

“We’re looking at other complementary markets whenever there is opportunities arise. We’re open to any opportunity whether it’s a license or an acquisition of an existing operation anywhere in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia that complements our current portfolio.”

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