Axiata wants in on MobiFone privatization

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Malaysia's Axiata is reportedly interested in taking part in the privatiztion of Vietnamese state-owned operator MobiFone.

Axiata wants to acquire a stake and enter a long-term co-operation with MobiFone, the nation's second largest telecom operator after military-run Viettel, Tuoi Tre News reported.

The Malaysian company's head of corporate development, Annis Sheikh Mohamed, recently met with Vietnam's deputy ICT minister to discuss the privatization.

Axiata has offered to share its technology with MobiFone as part of the co-operation, contributing to MobiFone's growth.

According to Mohammed, Axiata's own privatization in 2008 had similar circumstances to MobiFone's, so Axiata will be in a good position to help guide the process.

The ICT ministry expects to complete the final proposal regarding MobiFone's privatization and have it approved by the government this year.

Other international operators including Norway's Telenor and Sweden's Comviq International have expressed an interest in participating in MobiFone's privatization.

The Vietnamese government approved plans for the privatization of MobiFone, which is currently VNPT's mobile unit, in April last year.

Vietnam's foreign investment laws will mean Axiata or any other foreign investors are limited to acquiring a 49% stake in the company. State-owned VNPT will meanwhile be entitled to hold up to 20% of a privatized MobiFone.

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