If Qtel manages to acquire a controlling stake in PT Indosat, it will be able to add its first Asian subsidiary to a roster that already includes mobile phone companies in Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia and the West Bank.

The Gulf telecommunications operator bought the stake from Asia Mobile, a holding company that is 75 per cent owned by Singapore Technologies Telemedia, a subsidiary of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek.

Qtel also owns the remaining 25 per cent stake in Asia Mobile, giving it an advantage in its negotiations with the Singaporean majority shareholder.