VietNamNet Bridge, quoting MobiFone director Le Ngoc Minh, reports that the cellco is speeding up its equitisation process in preparation for an initial public offering (IPO) of one-third of the company. The operator, the country’s second largest with an estimated eight million subscribers at the end of 2007, is currently owned by the government via incumbent telco Vietnam Post and Telecoms (VNPT). Minh said that VNPT will retain a 33.3% stake in the company, while the final third will be sold to ‘strategic investors’.
The privatisation of MobiFone is eagerly awaited by many investors hoping to take a piece of Vietnam’s burgeoning mobile market, which has grown around six-fold since the end of 2004. The state itself will also be keeping a close eye on proceedings, as this is the first privatisation of several planned for the telecoms sector. Next on the list is rival cellco Vinaphone, also owned by VNPT.