China Mobile's Pakistan subsidiary Zong has confirmed that it is no longer in the running to acquire rival Warid Telecom.
A Zong spokesperson toldReuters that while the company had initially been interested in an acquisition, its consultants advised not to submit a bid due to the kind of investment the company would have to make.
Now that Zong has pulled out, PCTL is the only operator to have announced it is bidding for Warid, Pakistan's fifth-ranked mobile operator.
Pundits expect a sale of Warid to be worth around $1 billion, but the absence of competing bids may keep the price down.
Rumors that Zong was no longer interested in an acquisition had been circling for days prior to the confirmation.
Pakistan's mobile sector is struggling due to an overcrowded market, low margins and repeated delays to the government's 3G auction process.
Prime minister Nawaz Sharif this week gave final approval to conduct the long-awaited auction. But regulator PTA must still devise the terms, and no formal start date has been set.