Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) has ventured into Egypt through a partnership with Egypt-based Raya Telecom, a telecommunications and IT company in the Middle East, to set up an Internet Protocol (IP) network infrastructure in that country.

The partnership, the agreement for which was signed in Cairo last Saturday, will see the establishment of an international virtual private network (VPN) using multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), the latest telecommunications technology set up in Egypt.

TM group chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Wahid Omar said the tie-up with Raya Telecom and the provision of IP VPN services in Egypt marked TM’s first significant presence to cater to a high volume of IP traffic destined to the North African market.

“This partnership will offer a direct superhighway, riding on the latest MPLS, bridging the two nations in our earnest efforts to stimulate the business and technology interests between the two key regions,” he said in a statement late on Dec 9.

Wahid said communications destined for Asia would no longer have to traverse other continents. He said the collaboration offered a fully secure and robust global IP VPN network to businesses in Africa and Asia.

“TM and Raya Telecom present Asia to Egypt’s doorstep, just at the touch of a button,” he added.

Prior to this, companies in Egypt were connected to their Asian branches either via Internet protocol leased circuit (IPLC) telephony, the Internet or a VPN to Asia passing through Europe.

TM said with MPLS, companies in Egypt would be able to communicate more efficiently in a secure environment. The companies will also for the first time be able to conduct secure data exchange and direct video conferencing with their offices in Asia.

The companies can also have the flexibility in managing their own network by customising the service to match their exact desired performance level at the right cost.

Raya Telecom managing director Mohammad Fares said the partnership offered a reliable, fast, cost-effective and secure connectivity alternative to businesses in Egypt. He said it improved business efficiency and eliminated the problems associated with data security, data delay and high cost.

TM said the partnership was sealed after an extensive study on telecom companies in Egypt which resulted in the choosing of Raya Telecom based on its advanced network, large corporate client base, experience and professionalism.

With operations now in 12 countries, TM said it would continue to look for avenues to expand its point of presence and to sustain growth in both the local and international markets.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that TM had sold its 60% stake in Guinea’s largest telephone company Societe de Telecommunications de Guinee (Sotelgui). TM paid US$45 million (RM169.64 million) for the stake in 1995.

Quoting Telecommunications Minister Jean Claude Sultan, the report said TM had agreed to leave Sotelgui amicably. Sotelgui has around 150,000 subscribers versus a mere 8,000 for its nearest competitor Intercel and 5,000 for third operator Spacetel.

The Edge Daily