HKT cleared to buy CSL for $2.45b

05 May 2014

Hong Kong's HKT has secured the final approval required to buy rival mobile operator CSL New World Mobility for $2.45 billion.

The Communications Authority has signed off on the deal, which will create an operator with an estimated mobile market share of 31%.

Australia's Telstra owns a 76.4% stake in CSL, and is now set to reap a windfall from the sale. The proposed acquisition was first announced in December.

Announcing the approval, HKT said it will now be “ moving quickly to integrate the business of CSL with a view to realizing the operational synergies.”

In order to ensure the company secured approval for the acquisition, HKT has already volunteered to surrender an additional 2 x 5 MHz of 3G spectrum, over and above the 2 x 10 MHz that the government plans to take back from HKT and CSL after existing licenses expire in 2016. HKT has also agreed not to bid for the spectrum once it is put up for re-auction.

The combined company will still have spectrum across the 850-MHz, 900-MHz, 1.8-GHz, 2.1-GHz and 2.6-GHz bands. Acquiring access to sub 1-GHz spectrum was a key rationale for HKT's acquisition plan.

CSL operates the Hong Kong mobile brands 1O1O, one2free and New World Mobility.

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