Qatar-based telco sees high growth prospects in Indonesia

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Qatar Telecom, or Qtel as it is familiarly known, one of the Gulf region's largest telecommunications operators, sees Indonesia as being among three potentially high growth markets in Asia-Pacific for its telecommunications services.

"As the world's fourth most populous nation, Indonesia is an important market for Qtel," the firm's chief executive officer Nasser Marafih said in a statement made available Monday.

"We see our investment in Indosat as strategic to our overall growth plan and for the long term. Together with our partner in Asia Mobile Holdings (AMH), we are committed to helping Indosat achieve enduring success in Indonesia."

Qtel owns a 25 percent stake in AMH (the remainder is controlled by Singapore Technologies Telemedia), giving it an immediate foothold in two key Southeast Asian markets, Singapore and Indonesia, through StarHub and Indosat, respectively.

AMH owns around 40 percent of Indosat and some 49 percent of StarHub.

"Our basic strategy for the future is all about growth. We've got our domestic market saturated, and so now it's all about what do we do next," Qtel business development director Guy Norman told a media conference recently.

He said that Indonesia, in this respect, was among the most attractive growth markets in Asia-Pacific.

"Indonesia is our star market, absolutely, if we look at Asia. Indonesia, India and China are the huge growth markets in the whole region for the whole world, but China is very difficult to get into, and India, despite its opportunities, is still rather difficult to penetrate," Norman said.

"Indonesia, on the other hand, is all about growth and expansion; that's really the attraction. If you look at the penetration rate of mobile phones and the Internet here today, there is basically a lot of room for growth," he added.

Qtel is a Qatar-based telecommunications firm that operates in 15 countries in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, covering a total population base of 527 million.

It is 55 percent owned by the Qatar government. (09)
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