KTF and DoCoMo acquire 33% of U Mobile

3 Dec 2007

South Korea’s KT Freetel (KTF) and Japan’s NTT DoCoMo Inc will jointly invest USD200 million to acquire a 33% stake in U Mobile, Malaysia’s newest 3G wireless network operator. KTF and NTT DoCoMo will share the investment bill equally and will participate in the management of the Malaysian company.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database pay TV operator U Telecom Media Holdings (formerly known as MiTV Corporation) won an UMTS operating concession and related 3G frequencies in March 2006. The following August it awarded Ericsson a contract to build, manage and maintain a W-CDMA network; under the agreement the Swedish vendor agreed to provide U Telecom with a complete 3G core and radio network, including microwave transmission, multimedia solutions and related services. In June 2007 U Telecom took a step closer to launch when it announced it had forged a nationwide domestic roaming agreement with Celcom, allowing its customers to use Celcom’s infrastructure when out of range of its own network, effectively giving it coverage of 97% of the population.

In September 2007 the new network, U Mobile, was soft launched in the Klang Valley using the 018 prefix. A commercial launch is expected once full interconnection has been achieved with Maxis and DiGi, expected before the end of 2007. Full commercial services are lanned for March 2008. Last month U Mobile launched a trial of the country’s first DVB-H based mobile TV service to around 5,000 users, in partnership with Nokia Siemens Networks. Mobile LiveTV offers users real time access to a number of broadcast television channels, including Trace TV, Bloomberg, TV3, NTV7 and 8TV, leveraging the group’s presence in the traditional pay-TV market.

Malaysia, NTT DOCOMO, U Mobile (Malaysia)