Turkcell to accept minority stake in Irancell

Turkcell had originally held a 70% stake in the consortium, which was appointed the winner of the licence in March 2004.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  May 23, 2005

Turkish operator Turkcell is reported to have been ground down into accepting a minority stake in Irancell, the consortium charged with operating the second GSM licence in the country. Turkcell had originally held a 70% stake in the consortium, which was appointed the winner of the licence in March 2004. However, following intervention from the conservative political watchdog, the Guardians’ Council, Turkcell was requested to reduce its participation in the licensee to 49%, a move that the operator has spent months challenging. However, Iranian government sources have now confirmed that Turkcell is willing to accept a minority stake in the Irancell consortium, paving the way for the official licence award later this month. It is hoped that the process will be completed by the end of May, with Turkcell said to be in discussions with potential Iranian shareholders. Turkcell had previously maintained it would only invest in the new operator as a majority shareholder and publicly threatened to walk away from the deal if this was not the position taken. Given the yearlong delay in the licence award it remains to be seen whether a third GSM licence will be offered on schedule next year. South African operator MTN, which lost out to Turkcell in the award of the second GSM concession has already established an office in Tehran to prepare for the award of the third concession.

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