SK Telecom (SKT), South Korea’s largest mobile operator, has confirmed its potential interest in Kazakhtelecom’s mobile unit, Mobile Telecom-Service, reports Dow Jones Newswires today. “We’ve been seeking business opportunities overseas… we are just reviewing whether we would submit the letter of interest to bid [for Mobile Telecom-Service],” said Lauren H. Kim, a spokeswoman at SKT. According to the report, Kazakhtelecom, Kazakhstan’s incumbent telecoms operator, announced last month it is planning to sell a majority 51 percent stake in Mobile Telecom-Service. It is to accept letters of intent from potential bidders from this Friday until 31 August.
According to Wireless Intelligence data, Mobile Telecom-Service – which uses the ‘Neo’ brand – was Kazakhstan’s third-largest mobile firm in 1Q09 with 2.3 million connections. The market is led by Kcell (7 million) and VimpelCom’s Beeline (6.4 million). SKT hinted earlier in the year that it is looking at making overseas investments. However, shares in the firm dropped 1.7 percent yesterday, underperforming the broader market. “It seems like investors aren’t quite convinced why SK Telecom has chosen the Kazakhstan market,” Choi Nam-Kon, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.