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May 8, 2008

VIETNAM/TELECOMS
Chunghwa and Viettel to form $30mn JV

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom plans to set up a $30 million Internet data joint venture with Vietnam's military run operator, Viettel, as part of its efforts to expand overseas, reported Reuters Wednesday.

The island’s largest telecommunications carrier has said it hopes to grow its business with overseas investments and projects as Taiwan's home market slows with the saturation of the island's mobile market.

"We will use Vietnam as a base and then plan to go to other countries, such as Laos," Reuters quoted Chunghwa Telecom's Chairman Tan Ho-chen as saying at a news conference Wednesday.

In the new venture, Viettel will own a 70 percent stake while Chunghwa Telecom will take the remaining 30 percent stake. The company had said it started investments in Vietnam and Thailand and plans to invest in every Southeast Asian country besides Myanmar.


Viettel, fully owned by the Vietnam military, has become a dominant telecoms operator in the country, taking up about a third of the mobile phone market. In 2006, it became Vietnam's first telecoms firm to invest abroad when it started Voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) services in Cambodia, then mobile phone, fixed-line and Internet services.

Viettel competes with Vinaphone and MobiFone, both mobile phone providers owned by state-run Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications (VNPT).

Chunghwa Telecom takes up about a 39 percent share of Taiwan's mobile telecoms market, and it competes with smaller local rivals Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd and Taiwan Mobile Co.



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