Strapped Telcos Hunt Cash

1:10 PM -- Teletalk and Warid Telecom International Ltd. in Bangladesh, along with TOT Public Co. Ltd. in Thailand, are the latest Asian carriers to publicly state they're looking for major cash injections to boost struggling operations.

State-run Teletalk and TOT are both courting financial institutions through their respective governments to secure funds for network developments, while Warid's CEO, Muneer Farooqui, has joined Thailand's True Corp. plc in confirming his company is looking for an international investor. (See Desperately Seeking Investors.)

Warid is looking for a "huge" investment if it is to build the capacity and coverage necessary to meet aggressive subscriber targets and challenge the three operators with larger market shares. Amongst those reportedly expressing interest are Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY), Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), and Etisalat , according to this report from Bangladesh's Daily Star.

SingTel already holds a stake in Warid Telecom Pvt. Ltd. , a wireless operator active in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Warid's smallest competitor, Teletalk, is relying on a government investment program for the 20 billion Bangladesh Taka ($291 million) it needs to radically transform its network. The government in turn is totally reliant on the availability of loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to run the program.

The Daily Star also has more on this.

TOT, Thailand's incumbent fixed operator which also runs Thai Mobile, the smallest of Thailand's mobile operators, is also looking to its government for help to raise the 20 billion Thai Baht ($578 million) for its 3G rollout. The government is canvassing local banks for the best rates for the beleaguered mobile operation, which has just 2.5 percent market share, according to Wireless Intelligence.

Check out more in this Bangkok Post report.

— Catherine Haslam, Asia Editor, Light Reading

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