Telenor president and CEO Sigve Brekke said Asia Pacific remains a key territory for the company and shot down suggestions the operator is looking to sell its Thai subsidiary Total Access Communications (dtac).
During a press briefing in Bangkok, Brekke told journalists the Norway-headquartered company plans to maintain its backing of dtac as part of broader ongoing investment in the Asia Pacific region, Reuters reported. The Telenor chief added that the region as a whole will be a key driver of digital growth in the future, the news agency reported.
The CEO's comments come as dtac extended the coverage of its 4G network to enable it to compete with rivals AIS, True, and Jasmine Mobile Broadband, which each recently won 4G spectrum in auctions covering the 1800 MHz and 900 MHz bands, The Nation reported.
Telenor backed its Thai and broader Asia Pacific operations at a time when Nordic rival TeliaSonera is moving to gradually divest its operations in the Eurasian territory.
The operator last month took the first step towards that reduction by agreeing to sell its 60.4 per cent stake in Nepal-based operator Ncell to Axiata for $1.03 billion (€947 million). Johan Dennelind, president and CEO of TeliaSonera, said the Ncell deal is the first step towards reshaping the Sweden-headquartered company, as part of the divestment plan that was announced in September.
TeliaSonera's divestment plan appeared to be a reaction to several years of allegations of corruption among its Eurasian partners. Telenor, meanwhile, has put its 33 per cent stake in Netherlands-headquartered VimpelCom up for sale, following similar corruption allegations surrounding that business.
In 2014, rival Nordic operator Tele2 also faced allegations of corruption regarding its dealings in Kazakhstan -- allegations that then CEO Mats Granryd firmly denied.
Tele2 shored up its position in the Kazakh market in November when it agreed to merge its mobile business into a joint venture with Altel, the mobile arm of local operator Kazakhtelecom. When the merger is completed, the combined company would have at least 5.6 million mobile subscribers and a market share of around 22 per cent.
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