Saudi Telecom Company (STC) tower unit Tawal made its first foray outside its domestic market with the 100 per cent acquisition of Pakistan-based independent tower company Awal Telecom, and indicated further acquisitions could lie ahead.

Few other details of the transaction were released, such as how much Tawal paid for Awal Telecom, who the acquired businesses’ shareholders are or how many towers it operates.

Telecom tower industry tracker TowerXchange states Awal Telecom is owned by Progressive Technologies Investments (PTI), a privately-owned telecommunications systems company, and had built at least 45 towers.

The Pakistani towerco primarily operates in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of the country, including North and South Waziristan, Orakzai Agency, KPK, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and provides services to operators Jazz, Telenor Pakistan, Ufone and Zong.

Tawal stated it will rebrand Awal Telecom as Tawal Pakistan once regulatory approval of the deal has been received. The Saudi towerco also noted the acquisition marks the first step in its “international expansion roadmap”.

TowerXchange remarked that 36,187 towers in Pakistan currently serve the four MNOs, which have a combined mobile subscriber base of 189 million.

“It has been estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 additional towers will be required over the next five years, so it is little wonder that Tawal has sought out its first foothold outside Saudi Arabia here,” the research company observed.

Tawal is a 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of STC, and owns and manages more than 15,500 mobile towers in Saudi Arabia.

It launched in April 2019 after STC decided to carve out its towers business and establish a separate unit.