TOT to finally take control of Thai Mobile

7 Aug 2007

Thai telco TOT has agreed to pay THB2.4 billion (USD80 million) for its state-owned sister company CAT Telecom’s 42% stake in struggling GSM operator Thai Mobile, to take its ownership to 100%, reports the Bangkok Post. Information and Communications Technology Minister Sitthichai Pookaiya-udom said the agreement was reached last week between TOT board chairman Saprang Kalayanamitr and CAT board chairman Montri Sangkasup. The two state telecom firms have argued for years over the management of Thai Mobile, which despite being the country’s only UMTS spectrum holder, has only around 70,000 customers in a market of over 40 million users, some of which are civil servants who do not even pay for its services. It has debts of around THB6 billion. TOT plans to expand Thai Mobile’s subscriber base and to invite foreign partners to invest in the building of a W-CDMA network, whilst CAT will now concentrate on the nationwide rollout of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO services, which it offers under the CAT CDMA brand as well as in partnership with Hong Kong’s Hutchison under the Hutchison CAT Multimedia Wireless banner. TOT board director Djit Laowattana said that the agreement between General Saprang and General Montri did not need to go through their respective boards, which would only have to acknowledge the decision.

Thailand, CAT Telecom, Thai Mobile, TOT