Rumour Mill: Turkcell to acquire Syrian operator

As the Syrian government considers issuing a third GSM licence, one of the existing operators, Syriatel, is said to be holding talks with Turkey's largest mobile operator, Turkcell. Late last year Turkcell CEO, Sureyya Ciliv, announced that the company was looking for overseas acquisitions in three key regions--countries neighbouring Turkey, the CIS markets and Eastern European countries such as the Ukraine.

Separately, the Syrian state telecoms organisation (STE) has announced plans to invest US$1.5 billion over the next five years expanding the Syrian landline network to rural areas. Given the likelihood of a third GSM licence being issued, the two existing mobile operators are expected to want to renegotiate the requirement to pass 40 per cent of their revenues (US$420 million in 2007) back to the STE to improve the fixed telecoms infrastructure.

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- read Cellular News and TotalTele