Axiata, Telenor in advanced talks to merge Malaysian mobile operations


KUALA LUMPUR – Axiata Group and Norway’s Telenor are in advanced discussions to combine their Malaysian mobile operations, which could create the country’s biggest cellphone operator by subscribers.

The parties are working toward finalising a deal to combine Celcom Networks and, according to a joint statement on Thursday (April 8). Axiata and Telenor will have an equal ownership of 33.1 per cent each in the merged entity, Celcom Digi Bhd. The announcement confirms an earlier Bloomberg News report.

A combination will challenge rival Maxis. Axiata has close to 9.1 million subscribers in the country but 150 million across Asia, according to its website. Digi.Com has 11.3 million in the country.

The planned merger come as the Malaysian ’s move to build and manage a 5G on its own instead of relying on private telecom carriers has spurred expectations of a consolidation in the industry. Malaysia expects the rollout of the high- by the end of the year.

The new company will have 12.4 ringgit in revenue and will remain listed, according to the statement.

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