XL Axiata considers sale of more towers; tests 4G mobile network

29 Oct 2014

Indonesia’s second largest telecoms company XL Axiata is considering the sale of more of its mobile towers next year, its chief executive Hasnul Suhaimi is quoted as saying. Hasnul told reports that the company will first carry out a review to see if the asset sale is the best option, noting: ‘It will totally depend on whether we need the money or not. We will also review the possible effects to our company [if we sell more towers],’ he told The Jakarta Post, adding that 4,500 towers may be on offer. The CEO confirmed though, that if a sale does take place it will only involve those towers that are not fully occupied.

On 1 October, TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that XL Axiata had agreed a deal to sell off 3,500 telecommunication towers to Solusi Tunas Pratama for INR5.6 trillion (USD460 million), with the deal expected to be concluded by the end of this year. In July 2014 it was revealed that XL Axiata has commenced plans to sell off part of its telecoms tower assets to pay off USD865 million of outstanding debt relating to its purchase of fellow cellco PT Axis Telekom Indonesia in March. With XL Axiata at that date officially inviting firms to bid for a portion of its 8,000 or so towers, corporate communications VP Turina Farouk noted: ‘We’re targeting to complete the selling process in the first half of the year and use the raised funds to pay part of our debt.’ The carrier booked revenue of IDR11.55 trillion in H1 2014, up 12.2% year-on-year, but its net losses were IDR482.52 billion, due to the local currency (rupiah’s) depreciation against the US dollar and rising interest costs related to the Axis acquisition.

XL Axiata, which is owned by Malaysia’s Axiata Group, is currently looking to boost its data services to increase revenue, as 51% of its 62.9 million subscribers are registered data users. As part of this strategy, this week it kicked off a trial of 4G services promising peak download speeds of up to 100Mbps. The operator’s 4G network is being tested at the Kota Kasablanka and Central Park malls, the Euphoria Lounge at Menara Prima, XL Xplor in Senayan City mall, XL Xplor in Central Park and Grha XL, it said.

Indonesia, XL Axiata