Saudi Telecom's subsidiary buys Pakistan operator to broaden footprint
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Saudi Telecom’s subsidiary buys Pakistani infrastructure provider to broaden footprint

Saudi Telecom’s subsidiary buys Pakistani infrastructure provider to broaden footprint

The deal is subject to regulatory approval from Pakistani authorities

Saudi ICT infrastructure company and STC group subsidiary, Tawal, has acquired Pakistani tower company Awal Telecom.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval from Pakistani authorities, will see Awal rebranded as Tawal Pakistan.

The acquisition will see Tawal bring capital investment, processes, and expertise to the South Asian market as well as introduce products to its portfolio, a statement said.

Awal, a licensed operation by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, currently primarily operates in the country’s northwest region.

Mohammed Alhakbani, CEO, Tawal, said: “Pakistan is an exciting market with high growth potential, and Tawal is looking forward to extending our digital transformation and ICT infrastructure development capabilities to the country. The country is witnessing growing mobile service penetration, which is creating infrastructural demand that Tawal is ideally placed to address.”

Pakistan is the 5th most populous country after China, India, the US and Indonesia (excluding the European Union), hosting four mobile network operators who are servicing 238 million people. The country currently has over 189 million cellular subscribers and more than 108 million 3G/4G subscribers.

The expansion of 4G LTE and 5G mobile networks is expected to drive market and revenue growth but there are currently less than 40,000 tower sites in the country, the statement added.

Tawal owns a portfolio of over 15,500 telecom towers in Saudi Arabia. The company is expanding its reach across new cities and rural areas in the kingdom, and is rolling out smart-city-ready technologies such as camouflage telecom towers, smart poles capable of supporting 5G and IoT devices, in-building solutions (IBS), and small cells.

With the aim of diversifying into new areas, STC said this month that it plans to spin off its data center, submarine cables and points-of-presence assets into a new firm. It spun off its internet services unit and listed it on the Saudi stock market last year.

Read: Saudi Telecom spins off data centre, cable assets to new firm

The firm’s also building out its digital bank, STC Pay, and invested in a $500m venture capital fund launched in 2017.

With inputs from Bloomberg 

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