Thai Mobile to receive Chinese aid?

9 Jul 2007

Bangkok Post reports that the Chinese government has offered financial aid to the struggling Thai Mobile via long term loans amounting to THB20 billion (USD641 million). Information and Communications Technology Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom said the offer was made via an official at the Chinese embassy, and that the money is earmarked for the deployment of a 3G network using spectrum in the 1900MHz band. The minister revealed that the Chinese had not provided many additional details about the investment, other than saying the loan would be repayable over a period of ten to 15 years. ‘I have passed on the Chinese offer to the TOT board chairman, Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr, for consideration. The board will raise the matter to discuss and co-ordinate with the embassy,’ Sitthichai said. The financial aid could prove useful to the ailing cellco, the future of which looked good six years ago when it launched, quickly attaining 240,000 subscribers. However, today its subscriber base stands at 70,000 in a market of 41 million after a long history of beaurocratic infighting between parent companies TOT (58%) and CAT Telecom (42%). The latter has proposed to sell its holding to TOT so that it can exert full management control and build up the business, but the two sides have failed so far to agree a price.

Thailand, CAT Telecom, Thai Mobile, TOT