Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka (Hutch Lanka) has announced that it plans to invest USD200 million post-merger with Etisalat Lanka as it looks to improve its ability to offer high speed 4G services to the consumer segment and in particular businesses, in an intensely competitive market. The merger, first announced in April this year, was confirmed on 4 December 2018 when UAE-based Etisalat Group completed the sale of its 100% stake in Etisalat Lanka to Hutch Lanka. In announcing the amalgamation of the two mobile network operators (MNOs) on the island, the pair noted: ‘Upon completion of the sale CK Hutchison Holdings Limited group will have a majority and controlling stake of 85% whilst Etisalat Group will have 15% ownership of Hutch Lanka.’
Thirukumar Nadarasa, Chief Executive Officer Hutch Lanka, told the media that the merger process is expected to take up to 18 months to complete, during which time systems, networks, products and services will be combined to provide customers a much larger 2G, 3G and 4G network, and a better quality of service. ‘In a market which has exceeded 100% penetration and saddled with too many players and given the current operating and future challenges, the merger makes sense,’ Nadarasa is quoted as saying. ‘The merger brings in stability, an end to senseless competition and more room for healthy growth,’ he added.
The enlarged Hutch-Etisalat Lanka has 2,500 telecom towers countrywide, and will rationalise in areas where there is duplication. Hutch Lanka recently launched 4G services in the Western Province and will invest USD200 million over the next five years as part of a nationwide rollout, as well as enhance its 2G and 3G services, the official said.