Thai state-owned telco TOT is near to signing a contract for strategic consulting and technical support with Japanese cellco Softbank, according to its chairman, Panthep Chamrasromran, who revealed that TOT officials are meeting Softbank in Japan to finalise the deal. Telecomasia reports that a transformation plan will be submitted to TOT’s board for approval by July, with the Japanese operator expected to provide technical help with platforms, technology transfer and human resource development. TOT is developing a strategy to adapt to fundamental changes in the telecoms sector in Thailand, as the three main private sector cellcos are expected to win full 3G network operating licences in the fourth quarter, ending reliance on build-transfer-operate (BTO) revenue-sharing concessions issued to them by TOT and sister telco CAT. Furthermore, under changes set in legislation, from December 2013 onwards CAT and TOT will transfer all revenue from BTO concessions to the state. TOT has already decided on setting up three subcommittees, focused on network and infrastructure sharing, development of existing assets and development of applications. Panthep added that TOT would be spinning off its tower and transmission operations into a new subsidiary, with the state telco owning 49%, to offer private sector operators wholesale access to existing infrastructure. The rest of the company is earmarked for floatation on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, aiming to raise around THB50 billion, or over USD1.5 billion.