Thai state-owned telco TOT has agreed to partner China Telecom in building two new international terrestrial high speed fibre-optic links to provide backup internet gateway capacity for Thailand. One new fibre land-based route will run from Nong Khai province to Laos, China and Russia, with a second connecting Thailand with Cambodia and Vietnam, reports the Bangkok Post. Shanghai Symphony Telecom, a joint venture of China Telecom and AT&T, will be responsible for deploying a gateway connection in Laos, with TOT taking on the building of the Nong Khai gateway. TOT chairman Panthep Chamrasromran said that TOT’s board have adopted the project to ease traffic congestion on Thailand’s main international internet gateway, a submarine fibre network connecting to Malaysia and Singapore, run by TOT’s sister telco CAT Telecom.
In other news from the TOT boardroom, Japanese telco Softbank will serve as principal technical advisor to TOT in a business strategy review, which will include evaluating the company’s assets – including Thailand’s only 2100MHz W-CDMA/HSPA 3G network – to establish a framework for generating new revenue opportunities. In the mobile sector, TOT is likely to focus on operating wholesale network services, whilst it must also nail down its strategy for utilising infrastructure to be transferred back under the state telco’s control via the expiry of private operators’ build-transfer-operate (BTO) concessions, including the BTO licence of the country’s largest cellular provider, Advanced Info Service (AIS), which runs out in 2015. TOT is expected to form three subsidiaries this year to run new operating divisions under its revised structure to be finalised via the project with Softbank.