Confirmed: PTCL Shows Intent to Buy Telenor Pakistan

PTCL Group has shown its interest in acquiring Telenor Pakistan’s operations and management in totality, well-placed sources have confirmed.

If sources are to be believed, a stock filing is likely to be made today or tomorrow at most in this regard, where PTCL will be intimating to its shareholders about the group’s intent in acquiring Telenor.


PTCL has notified the Pakistan Stock Exchange to show intent of acquiring a telecom company, but didn’t specify the name of the operator.

The stock filing said that PTCL board of directors authorised the company to explore investment opportunities in the telecom sector of Pakistan.

Sigve Brekke, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Telenor International said in November 2022 that the group is looking for “merger opportunities” in Pakistan.

The move will be part of a strategic shift in Telenor’s focus from Asia to European markets.

Telenor Group, which operates telecom businesses in nine markets across Europe and Asia, is now shifting its focus to European markets as it recently merged its operations in Thailand.

A similar pattern could be followed in Pakistan where PTCL might merge Telenor with Ufone, the cellular arm of the PTCL group.

Telenor Group previously wrapped up its operations in India, Myanmar and Indonesia as well.

While more details on the development are yet to surface, through highly placed sources, ProPakistani can confirm that both parties are in advance talks and an announcement could be made soon.

We can also confirm that a delegation of high-level PTCL officials was seen at 345 headquarters in Islamabad.

Telenor had long been planning (read urging) to exit the Pakistani market, and in fact, several attempts were made with inconclusive negotiations.

As per sources, the previous attempt went undecided due to the price tag of the deal. This time, however, it seems that things have advanced to a stage where both parties have made compromises to settle the bargain, at around $700 million.

If things go as planned for PTCL, the acquisition could result in the merger of Ufone and Telenor Pakistan with 72 million mobile customers, almost equaling Jazz’s long-standing leadership position with almost 74 million customers.

It may be recalled that Ufone lost its 2nd position in terms of cellular subscribers to Telenor in 2008, and was never able to catch up again.

Ufone’s recent past has been aggressive in nature, particularly the way e& (previously Etisalat) is planning to position itself in the regional market.

Last’s year’s spectrum acquisition for Ufone was also considered as a bold move by the operator, given the deteriorating ARPUs, economic crunch and political instability in the country.

From the looks, it is apparent that PTCL group, with strong backing from e&, is now looking to strengthen its position in Pakistan’s telecom industry.

Here’s a brief look at a couple of stats after the proposed merger:

Ufone Current Numbers Post Merger Ufone Numbers
Customers 23.51 Million 72.04 Million
Spectrum 27.6 MHz 56.2 MHz

Not to mention, Jazz has currently 47.2 MHz in various bands of spectrum for its 74 million customers, while Zong has 33.6 MHz of spectrum for its 45 million customers, leaving the merged Ufone/Telenor as the most spectrum-rich operator in the industry.

Some Background

For the last several years, both Ufone and Telenor were struggling pieces of Pakistan’s telecom industry.

Ufone had missed the train, mainly due to its late entry in 4G and then lack of investments (for network upgradations) during 2015-2020, leaving the operator to struggle at the number last position in the market.

Telenor, on the other hand, lost traction – well mainly due to Group’s lost interest in Asian markets. Telenor, as you may suggest after seeing its financial reports, had been struggling for the past several quarters.

Things only worsened for both Ufone and Telenor with Zong and Jazz stably rocking the boat at a pace that was not possible for Ufone and Telenor to catch.

With this proposed merger, Ufone could get a massive 45 million customers, which is otherwise not possible for Ufone considering that the market has matured and customer acquisition cost is either very high or not possible at all.


  • It’s not good for the customer as it’s killing the competition. Yes ufone service will be good.

  • PTA is the culprit for not opening auctions for open bidding of bandwidth so that Quality of Services (QoS) wouldve been increased no wonder in pakistan 3G works like a 2G

  • Not good from customers perspective , It will be big 3 monologues soon. Rates will be doubled in less competitive market . Earlier warid gone, now telenor. Pakistan need at least 4 to 5 Operator’s in country.

  • I wish Zong would’ve bought Telenor. Ufone (like its parent company PTCL) has a History of Overcharging customers. for those who don’t know Ufone initially charged customers for 3g based on speed! yes you heard it correct. They had packages based on speeds of 1Mbps, 2Mbps and 3Mbps. So never expect anything good from them.
    Telenor’s first Miss-step was to not go for full 10Mhz Band of 2100Mhz Frequency in the very first Auction back in 2014. instead splitting it up 5Mhz each with Ufone. Telenor’s second mistake was to not Bid for1800Mhz Spectrum of 4g they chose to go for 850Mhz which proved to be detrimental for them because 850MHZ has lower throughput hence speed on Telenor always lagged behind. I just cannot get behind the idea of Ufone getting the Telenor.

    • Well said bro, It is reality that Telenor had great mistake by purchasing 850Mhz for 4G as 850Mhz is useless, It could do well if it would go with 15Mhz of 1800Mhz, but if Deal goes on with Ufone then it can perform well with total of 56Mhz which is slightly more than Jazz which is 46Mhz, but in 56Mhz there will be also chunk of 850Mhz which will effect the performance, If they will use 850 Mhz for 2G and 3G and 2100 , 1800 , 900 for 4G then they will have better performance, waiting to listen from you on it

    • Partially agree with your post, to extent of Telenor’s mistakes. But I think merger or acquisition of Ufone-Telenor whichever its going to be happen is great for Pakistani market. Zong and Jazz are already performing well. Only Ufone and Telenor were struggling. Ufone make mistakes initially as you mentioned in your comment but they learned from their mistakes unlike Telenor and now Ufone has most stable 4G speed and competitive packages. But to compete with Jazz and Zong they need two things, first Customers and second spectrum to maintain stable network for large scale customer base. That’s what they will get by acquiring Telenor. They will become 2nd largest network and will have more spectrum than Jazz.
      In terms of spectrum they will have following bandwidth
      1800= 23.8 MHz
      2100= 10 MHz
      900= 12.4 MHz
      850= 10 MHz
      Out of this they can use 20 MHz of 1800, 10 MHz of 2100 and 10 MHz of 900 for 4G+ which will be in total of 40 MHz (most among all networks). 10 MHz of 850 MHz for DC-HSPA+ 3G which means better 3G speed. And 3.8 MHz of 1800 and 2.4 MHz for 2G services.
      On top of that Ufone will Telenor’s already established VoLTE services.
      And when there will be 3 major carriers to compete each other there going to a set of competitive packages as well

  • Now its all about how Ufone/PTCL utilize Telenor’s infrastructure. Voice quality / Data needs to improve drastically to stay competitive with Jazz.

  • I can’t say I didn’t see the downfall of Telenor Pakistan coming.

    They had started being petty with money in a way that only dying companies do. But PTCL moving in doesn’t make me sleep easy.

    It’s like the blind leading the deaf. Which would have been okay if this didn’t further increase the distance between the top and the bottom of the market. CMPak and Jazz are way ahead of these two at the moment.

    And with both companies having their parents sitting outside Pakistan, it’s not good news for the only home grown competition be the suicide squad of Pakistani telco. It’s another industry that’s about to bite the dust.

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