Chinese telecommunications operator China Mobile is considering the acquisition of a part of the South African telecommunications operator MTN Group's assets in Iran, Syria, and Sudan, with a total value of about USD2 billion.
According to local media reports, China Mobile is looking for partners in the telecommunications industry to jointly bid for these assets. At present, the company has narrowed its target to several experienced operators in the African market, including France Telecom, Kuwait-based Zain, Egypt's Orascom, and Dubai's Etisalat.
MTN Group currently owns a 49% stake in its Iranian branch Irancell and it owns a 85% stake and a 75% stake in its Sudanese and Syrian branches, respectively. Prior to this, China Mobile asked to acquire MTN Group's assets independently, but the suggestion was rejected by the latter.
In 2007, China Mobile acquired Pakistani Paktel for USD460 million and renamed it as China Mobile Pakistan. The Chinese telecom operator then launched a new telecom brand named Zong in the country.