Sistema to continue Asian expansion in China, Bangladesh

15 Jul 2008

Russian conglomerate AFK Sistema is aiming to follow up its recent entry into the Indian telecoms market by acquiring licences and/or stakes in existing network operators in China and Bangladesh. Sistema representative Vladimir Yevtushenkov said during a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday that the group had signed cooperative agreements with the governments of both China and Bangladesh. Furthermore, he said Sistema had already been granted a licence to provide mobile phone services in border provinces of China, and is considering buying stakes in a Chinese operator. In Bangladesh Sistema claims to be negotiating the acquisition of an existing mobile network, presumed to be the country’s smallest cellco by subscribers, state-run Teletalk, which has been roughly valued at USD300-USD500 million. In September 2007 Sistema began its Asian expansion campaign in India by buying a minority stake in CDMA-based telco Shyam Telelink, before upping its holding in phases and launching a plan to roll out nationwide mobile services. The Russian group’s main domestic telecoms businesses include stakes in Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Sky Link, Comstar, MGTS and Svyazinvest.

Bangladesh, China, Teletalk