Malaysia's OCK plans tower company

Dylan Bushell-Embling
12 Jun 2012

Malaysia's OCK Group has revealed plans to set up a telecom tower management business in the nation that would lease infrastructure to mobile operators.

Group CEO Sam Ooi Chin Khoon toldThe Sun Daily that the company is negotiating with operators including Celcom Axiata, Maxis, DiGi, U Mobile and P1 to buy their existing towers and then lease capacity back to them.

The company, which generates the majority of its revenue from providing turnkey network design, deployment and operation services, also plans to build its own mobile towers for the operation.

OCK plans to use part of the proceeds from an in-progress IPO to establish the tower business, and Ooi estimates that each tower would cost between 250,000 and 300,000 ringgit ($80,000-$90,000) to build or acquire.

Ooi said Malaysian mobile operators are increasingly looking to offload their tower management in a bid to save maintenance and operational costs, and to fall in with a global trend towards mobile tower-sharing.

He said it is possible that OCK's prospective tower operations and other recurring revenue items could supplant network planning services as the company's main revenue spinner.

The inclusion of Axiata in the negotiations is interesting, in light of last week's reports claiming that the operator has ambitions of creating a tower company of its own, that would operate across Axiata's regional markets in Southeast Asia.

According to sources cited in the reports, Axiata had approached Idea Cellular, seeking to either merge with or acquire the Indian operator's 8,000 towers. These assets would then be used for the regional tower business.

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