Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DiGi, YTL said to be keen on P1

DiGi, YTL said to be keen on P1


PETALING JAYA: A three-way fight for the acquisition of a controlling stake in Packet One Networks Sdn Bhd (P1) may ensue, sources said, adding that the three possible parties eyeing the WiMAX operator were DiGi.Com Bhd, the YTL group and Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM).

P1 is a 57% unit of listed Green Packet Bhd and owns valuable wireless spectrum. It owns 30MHz in the 2.3GHz band (that is used for its WiMAX network), and was one of the eight companies to be awarded last year with 20MHz of the 2.6GHz spectrum, which would be suitable for long-term evolution (LTE) or 4G-LTE type of services in the future.

StarBizWeek had highlighted last week that major telecommunications companies such as Maxis Bhd and Celcom Axiata Bhd had been quick to ink collaboration deals with other recipients of the valuable 2.6GHz wireless spectrum band, leaving DiGi with the least amount of access to that spectrum.

DiGi would need to acquire an additional 30MHz of the 900-band and 20MHz on the 2.6GHz band in order to have the same spectrum position as Maxis and Celcom. Interestingly, industry sources have indicated that DiGi is the closest to clinching a deal with P1, with negotiations having started over a year ago.

However, according to industry sources, fellow WiMAX operator YTL Communications Sdn Bhd, a unit of YTL Power International Bhd, is also keen to buy a controlling stake in P1. YTL’s interest in P1 had been speculated before.

Sources said the YTL group had recently sent a due diligence team to P1. They noted that from a technological perspective, YTL was the best fit for P1 as both companies operate on the same type of spectrum, that is, 4G-LTE (2.6GHz), which is time division-based, and WiMAX.

DiGi, YTL and TM had not answered StarBiz’s queries as at press time, while Green Packet officials declined to comment.

Meanwhile, RHB Investment Bank Bhd said in a report that TM could also be eyeing a stake in P1. The local brokerage said its channel checks indicated that TM was interested in acquiring a 30% stake in P1 for its spectrum.

However, industry players reckoned that this was unlikely, considering that TM had already stated its intention of supplementing its main fixed broadband approach by using its 850MHz spectrum.

StarBizWeek had recently reported that TM was planning to use its 850MHz spectrum as its LTE frequency band and aimed to have 100,000 users on its wireless LTE network by 2014, and more than one million by 2017.

Publish date: 11/09/13

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