Pakistan Telecom (PTCL) abandoned its bid for Warid Telecom after the two companies failed to agree on a price, according to reports.
The Etisalat-controlled PTCL lodged its bid for Warid in December last year, in a move that was expected to prompt other parties to stake a claim. China Mobile’s Zong and VimpelCom were connected with Warid but elected not to launch bids.
“The ongoing discussions between Abu Dhabi Group and PTCL for the merger and acquisition of Warid Telecom Pakistan have been called off,” Warid owner Abu Dhabi Group said in an emailed statement sent to Reuters.
A Warid official told Pakistan’s The News that the operator believes it has the assets that will enable it to further enhance its value.
Reuters reported in June that Warid Telecom had been put up for sale by its owner Abu Dhabi Group, for a value of around $1 billion.
According to GSMA Intelligence figures for the fourth quarter of 2013, PTCL’s Ufone is the third biggest player in Pakistan with 25 million connections. Orascom’s Mobilink is the market leader with 37.7 million connections, followed by Telenor Pakistan on 33.4 million.
Adding fifth-placed Warid’s 12.9 million connections would put PTCL on a par with Mobilink.
There is clearly scope for consolidation in Pakistan’s mobile market with margins having been squeezed in recent years due to increasing market penetration and competition.
However, there appears to be potential for a new market entrant, with reports that Turkcell is considering whether to enter the market by bidding on spectrum in an upcoming auction.
Telecomasia reported that a group of Turkcell executives, including its CEO, met a delegation from Pakistan’s government at Mobile World Congress at the end of last month.