Nytex

In Brief:Foreign telcos again linked with Mobifone 

Telstra, Telenor and Comvik International are all still interested in taking a stake in Vietnam's Mobifone, which is expected to launch a long-awaited IPO at some point this year.Telstra and Telenor have held fresh meetings with Mobifone's parent, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), to express interest in investing in the operator. Comvik International is also keen to rekindle its relationship with Mobifone.

***Spark New Zealand announced that it has completed the sale of its international voice business more than a year after it first announced the deal.The New Zealand incumbent agreed to sell the unit to Australia's MNF Group, at the time known as My Net Fone Ltd, in April 2015 for NZ$22 million (€13.5 million).The sale of the non-U.S. portion of the business closed before the end of that month, but it appears to have taken some time for the telco to secure the necessary permissions to transfer the remainder.In a short statement, Spark said it has now completed the sale in its entirety, "following receipt of U.S. government approvals."

***Huawei has been ordered to hand over information related to the export or re-export of U.S. technology to the likes of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.The U.S. Commerce Department issued a subpoena to the Chinese vendor last month, directing company officials to testify in Texas, or to at least provide information about its dealings with those countries over the past five years, either directly or via shell companies.The U.S. imposes strict rules on the use of American-made technology in network equipment exported to certain countries like Iran and North Korea. If Huawei is found to have violated these rules, it could be prevented from acquiring U.S. tech to use in its products.

***A number of international telecoms companies have reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring shares in MobiFone when the Vietnamese mobile operator finally undergoes privatisation. Norwegian telecoms group Telenor, Sweden’s Comviq and Telstra of Australia have each indicated they are interested in becoming a strategic partner in the cellco, which is the market’s second largest by subscribers behind Viettel. The long-delayed privatisation of MobiFone has been on the government’s agenda for more than a decade, but the process is expected to take a step forward later this year. While it has not yet been revealed how many shares in MobiFone the government eventually plans to sell, Vietnamese law permits foreigner investors to own up to a 49% stake in local companies.

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