Axiata completes acquisition of Nepal’s Ncell
Malaysia-based Axiata Group completed the acquisition of Nepal’s leading mobile operator Ncell, with has a 43 per cent market share.

Axiata acquired an 80 per cent stake in Ncell from TeliaSonera for $1.37 billion. The two operators announced the deal in December. Sunivera Capital has a 20 per cent direct local shareholding as required by law.

In conjunction with its entry into the Nepali market, Axiata plans to launch a group-wide roaming service, Axiata Roam, which offers discounted roaming prices to Ncell customers travelling within the Axiata footprint countries and roaming with its operating companies and partners.

In addition to Ncell in Nepal, Axiata has mobile operations in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

M1 4G powers Singapore’s connected buses
Singapore’s commuters on selected buses on one route can connect to M1’s Wi-Fi service as part of the city-state’s heterogeneous network (HetNet) trials, organised by the Infocomm Development Authority.

M1’s Wi-Fi-On-The-Go service, which M1 said offers download speeds more than ten times faster than available through Wireless@SG, seamlessly hands over customers between its mobile network and the Wi-Fi service.

The buses, which are specially-equipped, are linked to M1’s 4G network through an intelligent in-vehicle unit that boosts the bandwidth available to the on-board wireless network, M1 said in a statement.

Commuters can identify Wi-Fi-enabled buses through on-board signs highlighting the service.

Alibaba to acquire e-commerce platform for $1B
Alibaba agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Lazada, an e-commerce platform provider with operations in Southeast Asia.

The transaction consists of an investment of about $500 million in newly issued equity capital of Lazada and the acquisition of shares from certain shareholders of Lazada, for a total investment by Alibaba of about $1 billion.

The transaction is expected to help brands and distributors around the world that already do business on Alibaba’s platform, as well as local merchants, to access the Southeast Asian consumer market.

Lazada operates e-commerce platforms in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

China’s MVNO subs hit 20M
Nearly 40 MVNOs have launched mobile resale businesses in China and now have signed up about 20 million subscribers – a small fraction of the county’s one billion mobile users.

Ten firms account for 86 per cent of the total subscribers, reported.

This high concentration is expected to continue in the future, according to Xu Lidong, deputy secretary general of the MNVO branch of the China Association of Communication Enterprises. He expects consolidation and many resellers to go out of business.

Analysts say three or four MVNOs will likely control 70-80 per cent of the subscribers in the near future.

The country’s MNVO market, like those in many countries, is characterised by low ARPU and with a focus on low-end, prepaid users.

Ericsson, Arup carry out HK smart city study
Ericsson has teamed with Arup, a professional services firm, to conduct a smart city feasibility study on developing Hong Kong into a world-leading smart and sustainable city.

The 18-month study will focus on transforming Kowloon East, a 488-hectare district, into an additional Central Business District.

The scope of the study includes formulating a smart city framework, implementation strategy and a business model that later can be expanded to cover the rest of Hong Kong. It will also advise on centralised digital infrastructure and cyber security to support the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data applications.