New minister rubbishes Thai Mobile 3G plan

20 Oct 2006

Thailand’s new Information and Communications Technology Minister, Sittichai Pokai-udom, has called into question the feasibility of state-owned cellco Thai Mobile’s proposals to roll out the country’s first 3G network. The struggling operator owns frequency in the 1900MHz band capable of being used for W-CDMA services, but the company, a 58:42 joint venture of TOT Corp and CAT Telecom, has been held back by infighting between its shareholders, and has only around 100,000 GSM customers. TOT’s attempts to buy CAT’s stake have been hampered by the two state enterprises’ failure to agree on a price. A national 3G build would require an estimated investment of USD2.7 billion – a sum beyond the capability of Thai Mobile, according to the Minister, who said that the situation merited a review to find the best and most appropriate plan of action for the country. Thai Mobile, he said, needed to have a clear objective and target, including details on how much money it wanted to invest, where it would get the money, and whether the service could survive.

Thailand, Thai Mobile