Mobile operators Smart Telecom and Mobile-8 Telecom are to merge their rival brands in an effort to remain successful in the hugely competitive Indonesian market, the world’s sixth-largest mobile market. The Jakarta Globe reports that the new offering – SmartFren – will share the same shops and distribution network and carry out joint marketing campaigns. However, the two companies have reportedly not yet discussed the possibility of a full company merger.

According to Wireless Intelligence, CDMA operators Fren (Mobile-8) and Smart Telecom are Indonesia’s sixth- and seventh-largest operators, respectively (with 3.8 million and 2.5 million connections as of end Q4 2009). They have only a 2.3 percent and 1.5 percent market share each, respectively. With a total market connection base of 165 million, the country’s mobile sector is dominated by Telkomsel, which has a 50.6 percent market share. The Jakarta Globe notes that Smart and Mobile-8 hope the tie-up will help them at least double their subscriber base this year.