Sri Lankan mobile market leader Dialog Axiata has agreed to buy 100% of local fixed-wireless operator Suntel. Dialog said it will pay between USD33.9 million and USD34.9 million after completing due diligence which values the firm at around three times its 2010 EBITDA. Dialog and Suntel, which is indirectly part-owned by Scandinavian telecoms group TeliaSonera, overcame previous stumbling blocks over price which held back a deal in the past, while more delays were experienced as the companies waited for local regulatory authority approval. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database estimates CDMA network operator Suntel’s current corporate and residential telephony base at 350,000, down from a peak of above 500,000 in 2008. Dialog also operates fixed-wireless services via its Dialog Broadband Networks (DBN) division, with 189,000 voice subscribers on its CDMA-based network at end-2010, which it will now look to integrate with Suntel’s operations. The merged entity will have a 23% share of the island’s fixed local access market, behind Sri Lanka Telecom but ahead of rival Lanka Bell, Dialog claimed in a statement. Suntel reportedly has 382 CDMA base stations, which Dialog will combine with its own network of around 200 CDMA sites.
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