Local newspaper The Nation reports that ICT Minister Chuti Krairiksh has told TOT and CAT Telecom to put on hold major network investment plans until a full mapping of locations has been completed as part of the national broadband policy. The minister says that he wants to promote the practice of sharing network infrastructure and reducing redundant investment among private and state-owned companies. CAT was planning to spend around THB6 billion (USD198 million) on developing a fibre-optic network, while TOT was targeting expenditure of THB13 billion for the deployment of a next generation network (NGN). However, the companies will now have to wait until they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) before the end of this year.
Meanwhile, CAT has also been ordered to suspend its planned THB3.8 billion investment in its CDMA network. Krairiksh has told the company that first he wants CAT to conclude its talks with Hutchison regarding the takeover of the latter’s CDMA network in 25 provinces. Hong-Kong based Hutchison has yet to decide the fate of its Thai subsidiary.
Finally, the minister revealed that the board of TOT has told him that the company will finish its terms of reference for the deployment of a nationwide 3G network on 28 November. The minister has ordered TOT to complete the rollout of 3G services by next April. TOT launched its 3G network on a limited scale in Greater Bangkok last December, and the Cabinet recently approved its plan to roll out a nationwide network.