(Hat tip to Werner)
Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E. (“OTH” or “Orascom Telecom”) announced today that it has been granted the first commercial license to provide mobile telephony services in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK”) using WCDMA (3G) technology.
The license was granted to OTH’s subsidiary CHEO Technology JV Company (“CHEO”) which is controlled by Orascom Telecom with an ownership of 75% while the remaining 25% is owned by the state owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation. The terms of the license allows CHEO to offer services to its customer throughout the country, the duration of the license is 25 years with an exclusivity period of four years. Orascom Telecom intends to invest up to US$400 million in network infrastructure and license fee over the first three years in order to rapidly deploy a high quality network and offer voice, data and value added services at accessible prices to the Korean people. OTH intends to cover Pyongyang and most of the major cities during the first 12 months of operations.
The DPRK has a population of approximately 23 million of which 67% is between the age of 15 and 64 years, moreover, there is currently no mobile services in the country. The operation in the DPRK will complement OTH’s existing operations in Asia and will further enhance OTH’s position as the leading GSM operator in the emerging markets.
Naguib Sawiris, Chairman & CEO, Orascom Telecom, stated “We are continuing to head in the right strategic direction; our Greenfield license in the DPRK is in line with our strategy to penetrate countries with high population and low penetration by providing the first mobile telephony services. OTH has consistently proved its ability to successfully roll out mobile services into countries where no other operator has. OTH will continue to increase shareholder value and maintain its leadership in the markets it operates in.”
About Orascom Telecom
Orascom Telecom is a leading international telecommunications company operating GSM networks in six high growth markets in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, having a total population under license of approximately 430 million with an average mobile telephony penetration of approximately 37% as at September 30th 2007. Orascom Telecom operates GSM networks in Algeria (“OTA”), Pakistan (“Mobilink”), Egypt (“Mobinil”), Tunisia (“Tunisiana”), Bangladesh (“Banglalink”), and Zimbabwe (“Telecel Zimbabwe”). Orascom Telecom had reached approximately 65 million subscribers as at September 2007.
Orascom Telecom is traded on the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchange under the symbol (ORTE.CA, ORAT EY), and on the London Stock Exchange its GDR is traded under the symbol (ORTEq.L, OTLD LI).