Thai state-owned fixed incumbents TOT Corp and CAT Telecom have finally come to a sale agreement over their joint venture cellco Thai Mobile. TOT will pay CAT THB4 billion (USD96 million) for its 42% stake in the operator, taking full ownership of its 1900MHz concession and all assets of the company. TOT had originally offered THB2.5 billion for the stake and had asked CAT to write off its THB55 million accumulated losses in the business, but eventually had to bow to its partner’s demands to tie up the long delayed sale. TOT and CAT have spent months arguing over the value of Thai Mobile, while all along the cellco has fallen behind its better funded rivals. TOT now plans to merge the operator with its parent ACT Mobile and sell a 25% stake in the new company, to be called TOT Mobile, to a private investor, rumoured to be Japan’s NTT DoCoMo. TOT is keen to make up lost ground and intends to take full advantage of Thai Mobile’s privileged status as the country’s only 3G licensee.
Meanwhile, Thai fixed line operator True Corp – which operates under a BTO agreement with TOT – has denied media reports that it is planning a capital increase to fund expansion of its own mobile business, TA Orange. True Corp shares plunged 13% in two days on the back of the rumours.