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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   18  December 2010

Telkom may acquire Cambodian telecom

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Telekomunikasi Indonesia, the country's largest telecommunications company, wants to take control of a cellular operator in Cambodia in plans to boost its presence in Southeast Asia.

"We're looking at a cellular telecommunications provider in Cambodia. We're expecting that we can have a majority share in that company," Rinaldi Firmansyah, Telkom's president director, said on Friday.

"We chose Cambodia because the telecommunications penetration in the country is still low, under 50 percent of its population of around 14 million people." It was reported this week that Telkom had its eyes on Cambodia's largest cellular operator, CamGSM, in a deal that could climb to $500 million. Rinaldi declined to mention the target company or potential value of the deal on Friday.

He said Telkom wanted to become the top company in the region as the telecommunications industry continues to evolve.

"This is a new era for telecommunications. Telkom will need to strengthen its connectivity, data services and Internet services. We want to be the No. 1 player in the region," said Rinaldi, who was appointed to his second term as the company's president director on Friday.

"We're always looking at opportunities in the region," he said. "The trend for the next five years is in media and edutainment. We already have a television service on trial, IPTV, and it is expected to start going commercial in the first quarter next year."

Looking ahead to next year, Rinaldi said the company's growth may not be as robust as it was three years ago as the sector has become more saturated.

"We can still grow, but at a slower pace. In order to sustain growth, we're planning to move into fields that are related to our competence," he said.

Other plans include developing e-payment services and Telkom's software services company, Sigma. It has also introduced Delima, a service for online transactions.

Telkom still wants to retain a strong local presence, though. The firm is in talks with Bakrie Telecom for a possible consolidation with Telkom's CDMA unit, Flexi.

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