Mobile-8 off to flying debut

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Shares of PT Mobile-8 Telecom, the fourth largest of the country's mobile phone operators, jumped by 20 percent on their trading debut Wednesday on the Jakarta Stock Exchange.

The company -- the mobile phone unit of PT Bimantara Citra -- saw its stock climb by Rp 45 to close at Rp 270. About 738.7 million Mobile-8 shares changed hands Wednesday, accounting for about two-fifths of the exchange's daily trading volume, according to Bloomberg figures.

Mobile-8, a CDMA-based cellular phone operator, raised Rp 877.5 billion (US$ 96.3) from an initial share sale earlier this month, the proceeds of which are to be spent on funding network expansion outside Java.

It currently has 438 base stations, which send and receive mobile-phone signals.

The expansion is expected to help boost the number of Mobile-8 subscribers and the company's revenue, president director Hidajat Tjandradjaja told reporters Wednesday.

Hidajat forecast that net profit would quadruple next year to more than Rp 200 billion from an estimated Rp 50 billion this year.

As of the end of June this year, the company had 1.3 million subscribers signed up to its product Fren, with the number of subscribers growing at a rate of between 5,000 and 6,000 per day.

The company plans to increase its subscriber base to around 4 million customers next year and 6.9 million customers by the end of 2008.

There are currently five commercial CDMA operators in Indonesia: Telekomunikasi Indonesia operating under the brand name TelkomFlexi, Indosat with StarOne, Bakrie Telecom with Esia, Mobile-8 with Fren, and Sampoerna Telekom Indonesia with Ceria. (01)
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