This report presents 12 profiles of selected major telecommunications companies in Asia. Each profile provides a descriptive overview of the business of the particular company as well as the latest available financial and operational statistics. Companies covered include:-
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL)
China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd
China Netcom Group
China Telecom Corporation Ltd
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd
Pacific Internet Ltd
Singapore Telecom (SingTel)
StarHub Pte Ltd
Vietnam Posts & Telecoms Corporation (VNPT)
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) - India’s state-owned BSNL owns around 85% of the country’s copper wire local loop networks. The company is the largest telecom operator and the largest public sector enterprise in India, providing basic fixed-line services nationwide, except for the cities of Mumbai and Delhi. BSNL lost its exclusive rights to local access and national telephony in 2001. To compensate for reduced revenues, it built a national GSM network and entered the mobile sector, becoming one of the country’s biggest GSM operators. The company also entered the international telephony market in February 2003.
China Mobile Limited - China Mobile has the world’s largest mobile subscriber base (over 260 million) and the largest geographically contiguous mobile network. The company also has a strategic alliance with Vodafone. Listed on the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges since 1997, China Mobile has been facing competition from cheaper city-based PHS mobile services offered by the country’s two big fixed-line operators. In preparation for 3G services in China, the company submitted its application for a WCDMA licence in July 2005.
China Netcom Group - China Netcom Group is the second largest fixed-line operator in China. The group owns 30% of the country’s fixed-line infrastructure and serves 35% of its fixed-line customers. As part of its infrastructure it has a 360Gb/s IP backbone network and the Asia Netcom submarine cable network. Its services include PSTN and VoIP telephony, the ‘Little Smart’ PHS service, broadband Internet access, leased lines and VPNs. With an IPO in November 2004, it was the last of the major telcos in China to go public.
China Telecom Corporation Ltd - China Telecom Corporation Ltd is the principal provider of local, domestic and international voice and data services, dial-up and broadband Internet access in 20 of the 31 regions in China. The company commenced operations in September 2002, then went public on the HKSE and NYSE in November of that year, after the government split the original state-owned China Telecom into the China Netcom and the current China Telecom. Revenue growth engines have included the company’s PHS mobile service and its broadband Internet service. In mid-2005, China Telecom signed a landmark cooperative agreement with ZTE to provide the world’s largest fixed-line Next-Generation Network (NGN) in China covering 30 provinces.
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd - Hutchison Whampoa, a huge Hong Kong based conglomerate, has become heavily involved in telecommunications and is now a serious global player. As well as its Hong Kong business, it has a presence in a growing number of countries throughout Asia, Europe, Australasia, the Middle East, Africa and South America. Specialising in mobile communications, the company has invested billions in Third Generation (3G) licences and infrastructure and has been at the forefront of the global 3G roll-out.
NTT DoCoMo - Listed on the Tokyo, London and New York Stock Exchanges, NTT DoCoMo is controlled by NTT Corporation and is the mobile arm of the NTT group. DoCoMo is one of the largest mobile carriers in the world. In 2001, it became the first operator in the world to launch a 3G service. The company provides 2G and PHS mobile telephony, FOMA 3G mobile communications based on the WCDMA standard, i-mode mobile Internet access and email messaging platform and satellite mobile communications. DoCoMo’s 3G service surged in sales in 2004/05 after three years of weak sales. DoCoMo was determined to launch its 4G services during 2006, several years ahead of its competitors.
Pacific Internet Ltd - NASDAQ-listed Pacific Internet Ltd is one of the largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the Asia Pacific, providing Internet access and services in Singapore, Australia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, India and Malaysia. Pacific Internet provides end-to-end Internet services for corporate and residential customers, including dial-up access, DSL and wireless broadband access, leased line services, web hosting and e-commerce services. Listed on the NASDAQ, Pacific Internet Ltd no longer has the government-owned SembCorp Ventures as a major shareholder. SembCorp sold its remaining shares to an investment company, Kingsville Capital, in 2005. Some months later, Kingsville sold its shareholding to venture capitalist Vantage Corporation.
PCCW Ltd - PCCW has been Hong Kong’s dominant fixed-line telecommunications provider since it acquired the incumbent, Cable and Wireless HKT, in 2000. Since the takeover, the company has been struggling with debt and organisational restructuring in its effort to remain viable. In January 2005, China Netcom reached an agreement with PCCW on the purchase of a 20% stake in PCCW for US$1 billion.
Singapore Telecom (SingTel) - Listed on the Singapore and Australian Stock Exchanges, SingTel is majority owned by the Singapore government. SingTel is the leading provider of fixed-line, mobile and Internet services in Singapore. With a small, saturated and competitive home market, SingTel has significant offshore interests, which now contribute a majority of its revenue. Its main subsidiary is Optus in Australia. Others include Telkomsel in Indonesia, Globe Telecom in the Philippines, Bharti Telecom in India and AIS in Thailand. The company has significant investments in international submarine cable networks, satellite systems and data centres.
StarHub Pte Ltd - StarHub provides voice and data services over fixed, mobile and Internet platforms. After a period of strong growth, the company has passed MobileOne to take second position behind SingTel in the mobile market and is now closing in on the incumbent. StarHub has deployed an IP-based network to serve corporate customers and has been building a nationwide network to serve the residential market. In April 2001, the operator was awarded a 3G mobile licence and launched a 3G service in 2005. Singapore Cable Vision merged with StarHub in July 2002, renaming itself StarHub Cable Vision, providing cable TV and broadband services. The operator’s broadband base represented over 50% of the residential broadband market in Singapore by end-2005.
Telekom Malaysia - Listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, state-controlled Telekom Malaysia is the country’s telecommunications incumbent. Despite market deregulation in 1994, the company continues to dominate the fixed-line voice, data and Internet sectors. In April 2003, it acquired number two GSM mobile operator Celcom. In January 2004, it launched a 3G service using the WCDMA standard. Its ISP, TM Net, is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, with ADSL exchanges installed throughout the country. Its international arm, TM International, has telecom investments, mainly mobile, in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Cambodia, with evolving plans to expand into other parts of Asia.
Vietnam Posts & Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT) - VNPT is Vietnam’s incumbent state-owned telecommunications carrier, having held a virtual monopoly on all services including fixed-line, mobile, data, Internet and satellite. The government has licensed other state run operators, which provide some competition, mainly with domestic and international VoIP telephony and ISP services over VNPT’s network. VNPT operates the country’s two main GSM mobile networks and a PHS mobile city network. VNPT’s growth areas are in mobile and ADSL Internet services. The government had announced plans to restructure VNPT, opening up for greater private investment in the sector, and was expected to move on this in 2006.
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