Indonesia restricts foreign ownership in booming telcom sector

JAKARTA(AP): Indonesia has set limits on the foreignownership of companies in several sectors it says are key to national security, including cellular and fixed line telecommunications firms, the country's trade minister said Wednesday.

The regulations would not apply to foreign investments that are already in place or are being processed, Mari Elka Pangestu said."The new regulation isn't retroactive."

Foreign ownership of cellular companies will be limited to 65 percent and to 49 percent of fixed line operators, Pangestu told a news conference. The new rules apply mainly to telecommunications companies that would be formed in the future, she said.

Pangestu said the government would not allow any increase in foreign ownership in existing cellular and fixed line telephone operators if it's already above the new limits.

At least two local cellular companies currently have foreign ownership exceeding 65 percent. Telekom Malaysia Bhd owns 66.98 percent of PT Exelcomindo Pratama while Malaysia's Maxis Communications Bhd owns 95 percent of PT Natrindo Telepon Selular.

Indonesia previously had no clear limits on foreign ownership levels in the telecommunications sector. (***)
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