Cambodian telecoms firm Digital Star Media is in talks to acquire CDMA mobile network operator GT-TELL (Excell) for an undisclosed sum, the Phnom Penh Post reports, citing Digital Star’s COO Frank May. Under the deal, Digital Star, which operates under the brand name Emaxx, will obtain Excell’s 28 cellphone towers and will continue expanding the network and its capabilities going forward. Partly through tower-sharing agreements, Digital Star aims for a presence in all 24 provinces by mid-2012. May said that Digital Star aims to acquire Excell, the smallest of Cambodia’s eight mobile operators in terms of subscribers, as its CDMA network would allow for a faster and more cost-effective transition to 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE). ‘Data is growing exponentially, so it is a good acquisition from our point of view,’ he said. Digital Star is conducting due diligence and the acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the month. May declined to specify the price of the deal, citing a non-disclosure agreement.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the Cambodian wireless market is one of the most overcrowded and competitive in the world with no fewer than eight mobile operators competing for custom from the country’s approximately 15 million inhabitants. At 31 March 2011 GT-Tell (Excell) was the smallest mobile operator by subscribers, with an estimated 112,000 users, translating to a market share of just 1.1%. The company commercially launched its CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network in the capital Phnom Penh on 1 September 2008, and went on to launch a 1xEV-DO Rev A network in December 2010.