Singapore, Hong Kong Carriers in Merger Talks

HONG KONG (01/25/2000) - Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) and Hong Kong carrier Cable & Wireless HKT Ltd. last night announced they are in talks on a possible "merger of equals" that would create an Asian telecommunications giant.

Both companies said the outcome of the discussions is uncertain. According to a statement by SingTel, no terms have been set for the proposed deal.

Cable & Wireless HKT is 54 percent owned by U.K.-based Cable & Wireless PLC.

SingTel is majority owned by the Singapore government.

Recent regulatory changes in both Hong Kong and Singapore will soon leave both companies facing a host of competitors. Singapore's government announced just last week that it will open its communications market on April 1 this year, a full two years earlier than had been planned [See "Singapore to Speed Up Telecom Deregulation," Jan. 24]. Hong Kong's Office of Telecommunications Authority recently licensed six local fixed broadband carriers within Hong Kong and 12 external telecommunications carriers [See "Hong Kong Awards Six Broadband Licenses," Jan. 19].

The moves toward liberalization by both governments are aimed at the competition among Hong Kong, Singapore, and other regional business hubs to become the center of Asia's Internet industry.

HKT, in Hong Kong, can be reached on the Web at http://www.cwhkt.com. SingTel, in Singapore, can be reached online at http://www.singtel.com.

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More about Cable & WirelessHKTOffice of TelecommunicationsSingapore GovernmentSingapore TelecommunicationsSingtelWireless HKT

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