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Edotco boosts tower portfolio with Seatel deal

Alexander Winifred / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A telecommunications tower in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Malaysian telecommunications tower company Edotco Group announced last Thursday plans to acquire 325 towers from Singapore’s South East Asia Telecom Group (Seatel), a move that would boost tower sharing revenue and consolidate its position as the country’s largest player in the tower infrastructure business.

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The deal will give Seatel increased network coverage in the fast-growing Southeast Asian nation through access to the rest of Edotco’s tower portfolio, while also lowering operation costs for the mobile operator, Edotco chief regional officer Philip Wong told the Khmer Times.

“Tower sharing is getting good traction in Cambodia,” said Mr Wong. “We will continue to build for Smart (Axiata) because they are going to expand. Cellcard is moving toward the sharing of towers, and so is Seatel.”

The value of the transaction was not disclosed. Seatel’s CEO, Yap Kok Leong, could not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Edotco, a unit of Malaysian mobile operator Axiata Group, dominates the Cambodian telco tower industry with a market share of close to 40 percent. Edotco is also one of neighbouring Myanmar’s largest tower operators, having acquired the assets and management of 1,250 telecom tower sites from Qatar’s Ooredoo Myanmar earlier this year.

The firm’s investments in Cambodia are part of a wider expansion plan in Southeast Asia, where Edotco operates and manages over 28,000 towers.

Within Cambodia, Smart Axiata, another unit of Axiata Group, jostles for mobile subscribers with smaller players such as Seatel, as well as Vietnam’s state-owned Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group, who owns Metfone.

Cambodian consumers have “increasing appetite for greater network capacity and speed, as accessibility to 4G mobile network steadily grows,” Edotco said in a statement Thursday.

Over the next three years, Edotco Cambodia will continue to expand its tower portfolio by constructing up to 750 new towers, Mr Wong said.

There’s “not so much acquisition opportunities” in Cambodia, Mr Wong said. The company will continue to seek tower-sharing deals with local network players to help cut the capital expenditure costs associated with raising mobile operator coverage, he said.

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