Thai state-owned telco CAT Telecom’s long-awaited IPO has been delayed again until the second half of this year whilst talks continue with Hutchison Telecom on a possible buy-out of their joint-venture CDMA mobile operator Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia. Acting CAT president Phisal Jorphochaudom said that the carrier wanted to negotiate a complete takeover of the CDMA2000 1x section of the network built by its Hong Kong-owned partner before moving to list, as this would enable CAT to evaluate the real business value for the listing. Hutchison has proposed that CAT pay around THB30 billion (USD774 million) for the network, but CAT wants this price lowered.
Hutchison has rolled out CDMA2000 1x voice and data services in 25 provinces in the greater Bangkok, eastern and western regions, and provides basic voice services roaming over CAT’s CDMA IS-95A network in major cities and towns in 51 other provinces. Chinese technology vendor Huawei has supplied CAT with 800 new CDMA 1x base stations to replace its older infrastructure and is due to complete delivery of a further 800 by the end of 2006. CAT aims to soft launch the new rural 1x network in southern Thailand in the coming weeks.