CAT’s plans taking shape to transfer network ownership to private operators

29 Nov 2011

Thai newspaper The Nation reports that state-owned CAT Telecom’s board will next week hear proposals from the telco’s management to allow private operators to buy their cellular networks back from CAT before their build-transfer-operate (BTO) concessions expire. CAT’s acting CEO Viroj Tocharoenvanith said yesterday that the ICT ministry had permitted CAT to proceed with developing the network sell-off plan, which had been approved by the company’s previous directors. He added that, if endorsed by the current board, CAT will employ an external consultant to flesh out the details and appraise the networks of CAT’s BTO mobile concessionaries DTAC, True Move and DPC (a small subsidiary of mobile market leader AIS, itself operating via a BTO agreement with CAT’s sister telco TOT). True Move’s and DPC’s BTO concessions end in 2013, whilst DTAC’s runs until 2018, whereupon they are scheduled to transfer the networks back to CAT. In September CAT dismissed True Move’s offer of THB10 billion (USD318 million) for its 2G network as too low.