Pakistan hopes for ‘massive’ Saudi investment in telecom sector with arrival of TAWAL
Saudi Telecom Company subsidiary has announced entry into Pakistan via a full acquisition of tower provider AWAL Telecom
Pakistan offers huge investment opportunities in telecom sector with 189 million cellular subscribers, 108 million 3G/4G users
KARACHI: Pakistan's board of investment chief said on Thursday he hopes to see ‘massive’ Saudi investment in the country’s telecom sector following the entry of TAWAL, a leading Saudi Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure company that is in process of acquiring Pakistan’s AWAL Telecom, an independent phone tower provider.
TAWAL, a subsidiary of the Saudi Telecom Company (stc), on Wednesday announced its entry into Pakistan's market via a full acquisition of AWAL Telecom, seen as the first step in the company’s international expansion roadmap. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval from Pakistani authorities, will see AWAL rebranded as TAWAL Pakistan, bringing capital investment, processes, and expertise to the South Asian market as well as introducing products to its portfolio, a statement said.
Pakistan offers huge investment opportunities in the telecom sector with 189 million cellular subscribers, 108 million 3G/4G subscribers, and 110 million broadband subscribers, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority data shows.
“The deal has been locked and we expect massive amount of foreign direct investment in Pakistan’s telecom sector,” Board of Investment Chairman Muhammad Azfar Ahsan told Arab News on Thursday. “They [stc] have plans to increase their investment gradually in Pakistan by entering many other sectors.”
Ahsan said the exact amount of TAWAL’s investment would be disclosed “within a couple of weeks.”
He said he hoped stc’s entry into Pakistan’s telecom sector would contribute to the upgrade of the country’s ICT system, infrastructure and related services.
TAWAL officials said the company was exploring opportunities in key markets regionally and globally.
“We are very pleased of TAWAL’s entry into Pakistan market as one of stc Group subsidiaries. TAWAL is looking forward to fruitful partnerships with the country’s mobile network operators and meeting the demand for robust telecommunications infrastructure there,” stc CEO Olayan Alwetaid said in statement issued on Wednesday.
TAWAL CEO Mohammad Alhakbani added: “Pakistan is an exciting market with high growth potential, and TAWAL is looking forward to extending our digital transformation and ICT infrastructure development capabilities to the country. The country is witnessing growing mobile service penetration, which is creating infrastructural demand that TAWAL is ideally placed to address.”
“The demand from telecommunication companies is increasing and the entry of a prominent Saudi company will play a greater role to meet the growing demand of mobile phone operators particularly at a time when the country is planning to launch 5G services in the country,” Shaharyar Khan, the head of business development a AWAL Telcom, told Arab News.
Pakistan has said it will launch 5G services by the end of this year and has set up an advisory committee to define a roadmap and finalize recommendations for technology readiness.
Source: Arab News