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3G/HSPA

Mobile-8 Plans November IPO

One of a slew of mobile operators in the Asia/Pacific region planning to go public in the coming months, Indonesia's PT Mobile-8 Telecom has released details of its IPO, set for November 22-24.

According to local media reports, the 3G operator will sell 3.9 billion shares (yes, billion), representing a 19.91 percent stake in the company. It has yet to determine the offer price of the stock, which it will list on the Jakarta and Surabaya Stock Exchanges on November 29.

Mobile-8 intends to use the proceeds of the IPO, along with a $70 million loan facility secured from Lehman Brothers last month, to upgrade its network capacity from 2.2 million lines to 4 million by the end of 2007, and 7 million by December 2008. The operator had 1.4 million subscribers at the end of August.

After the IPO, majority owner PT Bimantara Citra will hold 60.76 percent of the operator, and the remaining 19.33 percent will be held by institutional funds. Three local companies -- PT Bhakti Securities, PT CIMB-GK Securities Indonesia, and PT Danareksa Sekuritas -- will underwrite the sale.

In May, Mobile-8 launched Indonesia's first commercial CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network, capable of delivering average data speeds between 400 kbit/s and 700 kbit/s -- faster than most of the nation's fixed-line connections.

According to the CDMA Development Group (CDG) , Indonesia has an advanced CDMA2000 market, with one of the largest ranges of services and handsets in the world. (See CDG: Indonesia Hotbed for EV-DO .) Along with Mobile-8, there are four other Indonesian operators offering mobile data services over CDMA2000: PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk. (Telkom) , PT Indosat Tbk , PT Bakrie Telecom Tbk , and Sampoerna Telekom Indonesia.

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

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