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AsiaWatch: M&A, FTTx, 3G & SDPs

Building international portfolios is all the rage among the carrier community these days, with Indian operators appearing particularly keen on acquiring African assets, despite the recent high-profile collapse of the planned wedding between Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) and MTN Group Ltd. (See Bharti, MTN Abandon $23B Merger.)

Elsewhere, there's news of significant service delivery platform (SDP) engagements, with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) figuring prominently, and booming FTTx sales in Taiwan.

  • Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) looks set to join a consortium that's bidding for Zain Group and is keen on buying a stake in Zambian national operator Zamtel, according to Reuters. However, its aspirations to invest in Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. (Nitel) , which is being privatized, look to be have been thwarted. (See AfricaWatch: M&A Frenzy.)

  • Further delays look likely for India's 3G spectrum auction, reports the Economic Times. The auction was due to take place in early December, but that now looks impossible. (See India Resets 3G Date.)

    Meanwhile, there are concerns that a price war could hit Indian operators' profits. See this Reuters story.

  • Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. (NYSE: CHT) has reported a 67 percent year-on-year increase in revenues from FTTx services, to 6.4 billion New Taiwanese Dollars (US$198 million) for the nine months to the end of September, while revenues from DSL-based broadband services for the same period dipped by nearly 23.7 percent to NT$8.5 billion ($263 million). The carrier's total revenues for the first nine months were NT$136.6 billion ($4.23 billion), down nearly 2.5 percent from a year earlier.

  • IBM has struck a seven-year deal with Idea Cellular Ltd. to provide the Indian operator with an SDP for its messaging and content services. IBM has been working closely with IDEA since early 2007, when the two companies announced a separate 10-year IT outsourcing deal. (See IBM Wins at IDEA Cellular.)

    Also in India, IBM says it beat rival HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) to win a three-year IT infrastructure and business support services deal with new mobile entrant Datacom Solutions, which is set to launch commercial GSM services in four service areas, or "circles," before the end of 2009. The deal is reportedly worth $200 million. (See IBM Wins Deal in India and A Guide to India's Telecom Market.)

    And in the Philippines, IBM has supplied its SDP to Globe Telecom Inc. , though this is an engagement previously announced by Nokia Networks , the IT giant's lead partner for this deployment. IBM claims the platform has cut the time it takes to create and launch a new service from six months to just three weeks. (See NSN Upgrades Globe.)

    Other recent news from Asia/Pacific includes:

    — Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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