Committee sticks spanner in the works of TOT’s 3G plan

6 Nov 2008

Thai newspaper The Nation reports that a House of Representatives’ sub-committee which monitors state agency investments has disagreed with incumbent telco TOT’s plan to spend THB29 billion (USD837 million) on a rollout of 3G mobile infrastructure via subsidiary Thai Mobile, and will recommend to the government that the project be cancelled. The committee doubts both the project’s commercial viability and TOT’s marketing ability, stated its chairman Sirichoke Sopa, who is also vice chairman of the House of Representatives’ economic development committee. The committee last week met with the National Economic & Social Development Board and private telecom operators to hear their opinions of the project. TOT failed to show up, but the state agency has been invited to another meeting this week.

Sirichoke added that privately-owned 2G cellcos DTAC and True Move informed the committee during last week’s meeting it might be more cost-efficient to roll out their own 3G networks instead of leasing TOT’s. The pair, along with mobile market leader AIS, are waiting for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant them licences for 2100MHz UMTS frequencies; Thai Mobile is currently the only holder of 2100MHz spectrum.

Thailand, Thai Mobile, TOT