Telecom bankers urge Asian operators to embrace consolidation and networking sharing models

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Investment bankers and leading advisers in Asia are urging telecom operators to share infrastructure and accelerate consolidation to boost profitability ahead of the annual TMT Finance & Investment Asia Conference (http://www.tmtfinance.com/asia/) in Hong Kong on January 16.

Investment bankers and leading advisers in Asia are urging telecom operators to share infrastructure and accelerate consolidation to boost profitability ahead of the annual TMT Finance & Investment Asia Conference (http://www.tmtfinance.com/asia/) in Hong Kong on January 16.

With infrastructure sharing and merger and acquisition activity accelerating in Europe, many senior bankers and advisers are tipping Asia to see its own wave of telecom deal activity over the next 12 months. Operators face pressure to revive falling ARPUs (Average Revenue Per Users) by consolidating crowded markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam and India, and sharing infrastructure in mature and emerging markets across the region.

“The big question is: is Asia ready for active network sharing?” one senior telecom banker commented. “I would say yes. There are several examples of where it could make sense for operators who may decide it’s time to stop competing and join forces, either via a netco model or a full join venture, similar to EE in the UK.”

“Consolidation is also clearly needed in countries where operators are struggling due to there being too many players,” he added. “In the markets where the regulators have been more disciplined, allowing fewer players, operators can afford to invest in new networks and services that much more, which of course is good for the consumer.”

Telecom Infrastructure Sharing, Mergers and Acquisitions, TMT Growth Strategies, Financing and the Future of TMT are key session areas at the TMT Finance & Investment Asia conference and Awards, which features over 40 industry leaders as speakers.

“It has been a big year for technology and media M&A in Asia, and we expect that trend to continue over the next 12 months,” another banker said. “We also expect telecom deal activity to pick up substantially. Meanwhile telecom operators are continuing to focus on what I would describe as ‘healthy housekeeping’, with an emphasis on local currency debt,” he added.

Key speakers already announced for the conference include Axiata Group Berhad, Ooredoo Asia, Telstra, Pacnet, PLDT, Huawei, American Tower, Protelindo, SBI Capital Markets, ANZ Banking Group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, ING, Coleago Consulting and Brandscreen.

For the full conference programme, go to http://www.tmtfinance.com/asia/programme.

To submit an award nomination, go to http://www.tmtfinance.com/asia/awards/.

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Dominic Lowndes
TMT Finance
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