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SK Telecom to invest in P1 WiMAX

It is reported that the largest mobile service provider in South Korea, SK Telecom will invest up to US$100mil in P1 WiMAX for about 25% stake in the company.

The deal, pending “final procedures” will make SK Telecom the second largest shareholder in P1 after Green Packet.

There has been number of complaints over the past 1 year since P1 WiMAX was launched. Their aggressive marketing and competitive pricing attracted hundreds thousands of subscribers, causing network congestion at a number of areas. It is believed that the new funding would allow P1 to upgrade its bandwidth hungry network with more capacity for its current users.

I personally believe that even US$100mil will not be enough for Green Packet to improve P1’s WiMAX network and expand its WiMAX coverage in Peninsular Malaysia. Green Packet will have to look for other potential partners or funding if they are serious into expanding to East Malaysia and Singapore.

Imagine a simple partnership between P1 and YTL- it will allow both companies to expand in East Malaysia. P1 has the expertise and experience while YTL wants to go nationwide and they have the fund that P1 needs. Now if only both companies can co-operate and not compete, that would benefit all broadband users in the country.

As of 31st March, 2010, P1 had 175,000 WiMAX subscribers.

TheStar reported that SK Telecom said the deal would further build its mobile broadband network business expertise in emerging markets and act as a “springboard” for its expansion in South-East Asia.

The South Korean mobile operator also have investments in Vietnam(SLD Telecom), Mongolia(SkyTel), Indonesia(PT Telekomunikasi) and once invested in U Mobile.

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