SK Telecom mulls Bid for Mobile Telecom-Service

    South Korea's largest mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. (SKM) Tuesday said it is considering bidding for Kazakhstan's Mobile Telecom-Service, as part of its recent efforts to seek business opportunities overseas.
    "We've been seeking business opportunities overseas," said Lauren H. Kim, spokeswoman at SK Telecom.
    But, "we are just reviewing whether we would submit the letter of interest to bid" for Mobile Telecom-Service, Kim said.
    Kazakhtelecom (KZTK.KZ), Kazakhstan's incumbent telecommunications operator, said in late June that it plans to sell its 51% stake in Mobile Telecom-Service and that it would accept letters of intent from potential bidders by Friday and final bids by Aug. 31.
    Mobile Telecom-Service, which provides services under the brand Neo, has 920,000 subscribers, Kazakhtelecom said. The company, Kazakhstan's smallest GSM operator, was launched in 2007.
    GSM, or global system for mobile communications, is the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world.
    Shares of SK Telecom ended down 1.7% at KRW179,000 Tuesday, underperforming the broader market's 0.5% rise.
    "It seems like investors aren't quite convinced why SK Telecom has chosen the Kazakhstan market," said Choi Nam-Kon, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities.
    In early April, the chief executive of the Korean mobile carrier, Jung Man-won, said the company will continue seek merger and acquisition deals in the U.S. and in China and stressed that it's also seeking opportunities in wireless telecommunication businesses in other regions.
    In November last year, the mobile giant scrapped a plan to forge a business tie-up with U.S.-based Sprint Nextel Corp. due to the worsening business environment, according to the Wall Street Journal.