Mobilink, Warid Telecom to merge in Pakistan

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The two telcos are expected to complete the merger agreement by year-end

Pakistani mobile operators Mobilink and Warid Telecom have agreed to merge their operations to create a mobile service provider with a presence in both the 3G and 4G segments, according to a report published by local paper Daily Times.

According to the report, Mobilink parent company VimpelCom and Warid’s major shareholder, the Abu Dhabi Group, have completed negotiations and the due diligence process, and will officially announce the merger in January.

The merger seems to be complementary for both telcos as Warid commercially launched 4G services in December 2015, but does not operate in the 3G segment. In terms of subscribers, Warid is the smallest operator in Pakistan, with over 10 million customers at the end of August. On the other hand, Mobilink is the country’s largest telco in terms of mobile subscribers, with 34.6 million customers, and has a large 3G operation. However, Mobilink does not operate a LTE network in the Asian country.

Warid currently offers LTE through 5 megahertz of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band. By the end of August, Warid had almost 140,000 subscribers, according to data from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

The report also said that after the merger, Warid will remain a separate entity. The Abu Dhabi Group plans to retain 20-30% ownership in the company.

The acquisition of Warid by VimpelCom is expected to be fully completed by the end of this year.

Pakistan ends August with almost 16 million mobile broadband connections

In related news, Pakistan ended August with a total of 15.8 million mobile broadband subscribers, which resulted in a penetration of 13%, according to recent figures published by the PTA, which went on to say the market added over 1.1 million mobile broadband connections during August.

Telenor Pakistan continued to dominate the mobile broadband market after a net addition of more than 395,000 customers to its 3G network during August. By the end of the month, Telenor had over 5 million mobile broadband users.

China Mobile Pakistan, which operates under the Zong brand, added 395,000 mobile broadband subscribers, reaching an overall base of 3.6 million subscribers in the segment.

Mobilink added over 74,000 subscriptions to its mobile broadband network and had 4 million 3G users at the end of August. Ufone ended August with 2.88 million mobile broadband subscribers, after an addition of almost 343,000 subscribers. Warid Telecom added over 18,000 4G LTE connections during the month, reaching a total of 140,000 broadband subscriptions.

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