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SingTel wins conditional approval for ownership of fiber network

People look at brochures for deals on offer at the SingTel roadshow during the annual IT Show technology fair in Singapore March 10, 2012. R
People look at brochures for deals on offer at the SingTel roadshow during the annual IT Show technology fair in Singapore March 10, 2012. R

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore Telecommunications Limited has won conditional approval from regulators to acquire the entire ownership of a company responsible for developing the city-state's broadband network.

In August, NetLink Trust, owned but not controlled by SingTel, proposed to acquire OpenNet Pte Ltd., a consortium developing the broadband network, for S$126 million dollars ($101 million). The plan triggered objections from other Singapore telecom firms.

Singapore's Info-communications Development Authority (IDA) handed down the approval on Thursday, but attached several conditions to ensure fair competition, it said in a statement. (http://link.reuters.com/vyg84v)

The IDA asked for the establishment of a monitoring board to ensure SingTel would not influence the management and decision making of CityNet Infrastructure Management Pte. Ltd, the Trust-Manager of the NetLink Trust.

It also required CityNet to consult the IDA on appointing contractors and said CityNet should have full independence in deciding on prices, terms and conditions for services it offers, IDA said in a statement.

SingTel had promised to cease its role as the key subcontractor to OpenNet within 12 months of completion of the transaction, and to cut its stake in NetLink Trust to less than 25 percent by April 22, 2018.

SingTel, Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications operator, said the applicants for the deal, including itself, OpenNet, CityNet and NetLink Trust, have up to 14 days to accept the conditions laid out by the IDA.

(Reporting by Rujun Shen; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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