From Government of Indonesia

S. Korea’s SK Telecom Eyes Bakrie Telecom

SK Telecom Co is looking at investing in Indonesia's PT Bakrie Telecom as South Korea's top mobile operator seeks growth outside its saturated home market, the companies said on Tuesday (20/2/07).

"We have been interested in the Indonesian market and studied several options," SK Telecom spokeswoman Cindy Kang said, according to Reuters. "Investing in Bakrie is one of the business ideas we have."

The comment came after Bakrie confirmed its discussions with SK Telecom, which made a $1 billion investment in China Unicom Ltd's bonds last year in a move to enter the fast-growing Chinese market.

Bakrie, a low-cost mobile operator, is one of a slew of carriers seeking to grab a larger slice of the Indonesian market, which still has a low penetration rate. Only about a quarter of Indonesia's population subscribes to a mobile phone service.

SK Telecom, which has about half of its home market, is keen to find growth overseas, as more than four out of five South Koreans already own a mobile phone.

"SK Telecom has talked to us several times," Bakrie's president director Anindya Bakrie told reporters when asked about the cooperation with SK Telecom. "There are plenty of operators that we have been talking to and it has been going on for long."
He however declined to elaborate about a potential deal such as a stake sale. SK Telecom also said no specifics have been discussed.

Bakrie, which won a license to operate countrywide in December, aims to more than double its subscriber base this year to 3.6 million.
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