Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT) has confirmed that it will bid for a stake in state-owned Vietnamese cellco MobiFone, but said that it is not expecting the auction to take place until 2009. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, MobiFone is the country’s second largest cellco by subscribers, with an estimated eight million at the end of 2007. The government is planning to sell 49% of the shares in the company to foreign and domestic investors through an auction on the Hanoi stock market. The sale was originally slated for June this year, but the government is keen not to rush its programme of privatisation and potentially make mistakes. It has yet to confirm the appointment of sale advisers, leading STT to believe the auction may well be delayed.
STT controls 75% of Asia Mobile Holdings, a company that owns 40% of Indonesia’s second-largest cellco, PT Indonesia Satellite Corp (Indosat). STT is wholly owned by Temasek Holdings which also owns a 56% stake in Singapore Telecoms (SingTel), which in turn owns 35% stake of Indonesia’s largest cellco, PT Telkomsel. As a result, Indonesia’s Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) has accused STT of monopolistic practices; under Indonesian competition law, a foreign business may hold no more than 50% of any Indonesian telecoms operation.