Malaysia-based Axiata Group held talks with Sinar Mas Group about merging their Indonesian mobile operations in a move that would further consolidate the world’s third largest mobile market and one of the most competitive, Bloomberg reported.
Conglomerate Sinar Mas owns Smartfren Telecom, the smallest mobile operator in Indonesia with 30 million subscribers. Axiata XL is ranked third in the market with 56.6 million subs, GSMA Intelligence Q3 data showed.
Sources told Bloomberg the talks, which also covered the possibility of network sharing, are in the early stages, with no guarantee a deal would be finalised.
The crowded Indonesian market, with five major players, is set for consolidation, with Ooredoo Group and CK Hutchison agreeing last month to merge their domestic units Indosat Ooredoo and Hutchison 3 Indonesia in a transaction valued at $6 billion.
The deal will create the second-largest operator in the country with nearly 104 million subscribers.
Market leader Telkomsel has 172 million subs.