Telcos slam antimonopology court ruling, plan appeal

The Jakarta Post ,
Singapore-based Temasek Holdings and its subsidiaries, Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte. Ltd. (STT) and Asia Mobile Holdings (AMH) Pte. Ltd., will challenge a Jakarta court’s ruling, which found they had partaken in monopolistic behavior.

Another Temasek subsidiary, Singapore Telecommunication Ltd. (Singtel), is still considering its options.

In November last year, the Business Competition Supervisory Committee (KPPU) announced Temasek and its subsidiaries had violated anti-monopoly laws, particularly on cross-ownership.

Temasek owns a 54.14 percent stake in SingTel, which holds a 35 percent stake in Telkomsel, the country’s largest cellular phone operator. Temasek also has complete ownership of STT, which owns a 75 percent stake in Asia Mobile Holdings, which owns 41.9 percent of Indosat.

Last Friday, the Central Jakarta District Court rejected an appeal from Temasek and its subsidiaries, though it made several revisions to the KPPU’s rulings.

The court fined Temasek, Telkomsel, Indosat and each of its subsidiaries Rp 15 billion (US$1.6 million) and gave Temasek a choice of relinquishing at least 50 percent of its shares in both Telkomsel and Indosat or letting go of all shares in either company within a year.

Temasek’s lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, said the company would file an appeal to the Supreme Court as soon as possible, accusing the court of ignoring the government’s decision to privatize Indosat.

“The divestment in Indosat was done by government request because it needed revenue. The court should have respected the government,” Todung said.

In media statements, STT and AMH accused the court of ignoring the government’s decision to privatize Indosat, adding both the government and the KPPU were “fully aware of the Temasek-linked company in the Indonesia telecommunications market” when Indosat’s divestment was taking place.

“We will defend ourselves against the unjust ruling through all available legal channels,” AMH chairman Tan Guong Ching said.

Both companies added they had always acted independently of Temasek and no anti-competitive behavior had taken place.

“Contrary to the KPPU’s misleading claims, industry analysts, competitors and regulators recognize Indonesia’s cellular market is very competitive.

“It has one of the highest numbers of mobile operators with over 10 GSM and CDMA operators,” the statement said.

Singtel has decided to examine the court’s ruling in depth before deciding to appeal. (anw)

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