Vietnamese military-owned mobile network operator Viettel has revealed plans to open up a new front in its international expansion campaign by bidding for a stake in Bangladeshi state-owned cellco Teletalk. Bangladesh’s telecoms minister Raziuddin Razu told BDNews24 that an offer is expected next week, but denied rumours that Viettel would take full control of Teletalk, saying instead that there was a possibility of partnering the Vietnamese operator to share ownership. According to the minister Viettel is prepared to invest around USD250 million in upgrading Teletalk’s GSM network by deploying a total of 19,500 base stations and 50,000km of fibre-optic backbone infrastructure, whilst introducing 3G technology. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Viettel, owned by the Ministry of Defence, is Vietnam’s second largest wireless provider with approximately 32 million subscribers at the end of June 2009, and is also the second-placed operator in Cambodia via subsidiary Metfone. Teletalk is Bangladesh’s sixth and smallest cellco with 1.1 million customers at mid-2009.
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