24 May 2011
Thai provincial wireline operator TT&T has revealed a plan to relaunch its fixed broadband services as it nears the end of its business rehabilitation process, which saw it lose control of the lion’s share of its high speed internet operations to affiliate Triple T Broadband, part of Jasmine International. As quoted by The Bangkok Post, Trin Indra-opas, head of corporate finance at TT&T, said the telco is looking for a strategic telecoms partner with strong financial backing to relaunch broadband operations, as it hopes to resume marketing high speed services by the end of this year. On 6 May 2011 TT&T received court approval to increase its capital, allowing it to seek new partners over the next three years, and Trin declared that ‘Broadband will be our flagship service generating revenues and cash flow to repay debts under the rehabilitation plan … We have no plan to delist our company from the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).’
TT&T was granted a Type-1 (infrastructure-independent) internet service provider (ISP) licence from the acting National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) in March this year, which it could use to offer internet access services over its existing fixed line network (operating under a build-transfer-operate [BTO] concession). However, Prasong Busapapong, TT&T’s executive vice-president, said the company is undecided on whether to use the existing licences for providing broadband services (under the revenue sharing BTO framework), as it is also seeking a Type-3 (infrastructure operating) licence to set up a new firm (in a similar way to how Triple T was originally set up before being spun off for financial reasons). A new operating company is also required for future business expansion as TT&T’s existing concession expires in seven years, Prasong noted. According to the Post’s report, TT&T has established a working team to study the feasibility of investing in IP/broadband network services over the next five years, attempting to capitalise on low penetration and strong TT&T brand awareness in the provinces.
According to a statement submitted to the SET yesterday, TT&T has faced a possible delisting since 22 April 2011 as its audited annual financial statements last year showed negative shareholder equity of THB5.84 billion (USD192 million); T&T’s shares were suspended from trading for 30 days until 23 May. To resolve the possible delisting, Mr Trin said TT&T is on the verge of completing business and financial restructuring following the rehabilitation plan.