CAT to spend USD41 million to deploy 3G

28 May 2009

The Bangkok Post quotes CAT Telecom as saying that it will spend an additional THB1.4 billion (USD41 million) to expand 3G CDMA2000 1xEV-DO services across the 51 provinces covered by its CAT CDMA mobile network. The state-run telco’s executive vice-president Viroj Toacharoenvanich said that initially about THB800 million will be spent to expand base stations to accommodate outdoor use, and a further USD600 million will be invested in rolling out data services. CAT hopes to gain a total of 500,000 users of the network, up from around 300,000 currently, and to achieve annual revenues of THB1.3 billion, up from THB600 million last year. CAT previously invested THB7.2 billion to roll out its northern/southern provincial CDMA network, whilst its joint venture with Hong Kong’s Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL) – Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia (HCWM) – covers Bangkok and 25 central provinces; ‘Hutch’ branded CDMA services are offered over the central network, which is leased from HTIL subsidiary BFKT and is reportedly worth somewhere in the region of THB30 billion-THB40 billion.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database says that HCWM switched on EV-DO services in Bangkok and other central areas in July 2007, whilst CAT announced the rollout of 3G EV-DO/3.5G Rev A in June 2008 over the CAT CDMA network (which launched in April 2007), though the deployment has remained limited. HTIL has indicated it will sell its 74% stake in HCWM to CAT, after the pair repeatedly failed to agree on a nationwide strategy to integrate and market their services. The issue of asset valuation has previously been a stumbling block in the joint venture’s attempts to form a cohesive future strategy. In August 2008 CAT said it would offer to buy the BFKT network for THB6 billion, but HTIL had previously estimated its value at THB30 billion.

Thailand, CAT Telecom, Hutch (Thailand)