The board of CAT Telecom early this week gave the green light to sign a memorandum of understanding with Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL) concerning CAT’s plan to buy network assets and related businesses from their Thai joint venture, Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia (HCWM). Thai newspaper The Nation reports that the move involves buying a total of four businesses, as part of a plan to develop a nationwide CDMA2000-based mobile service. State-owned CAT currently runs a provincial service under the CAT CDMA brand whilst HTIL manages the Bangkok-based HCWM operation under the Hutch banner. CAT plans to buy BFKT, a wholly owned subsidiary of HTIL, which owns a CDMA network covering 25 central provinces (currently leased to HCWM), before merging the network with its wholly owned infrastructure in 51 provinces to create a seamless nationwide footprint. CAT also plans to buy call centre and content businesses from HTIL, and says it will transfer under its wing a combined 1,000 employees of the total of four businesses it plans to buy. CAT executive committee chairman Krisda Kaveeyarn said the agency expected to wrap up all the deals this year, which he valued very roughly at ‘a few billion’ Thai baht (THB) in total.