CAT Telecom has revealed plans to strike deals with additional mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to operate 3G services using its 850MHz frequencies, once the state telecom enterprise has completed necessary amendments to its existing 3G network contracts with True Corp, which have been found to violate telecoms legislation. Under the current partnership agreement with CAT, True Corp subsidiary Real Move technically operates as an MVNO, as it offers the ‘True Move H’ 850MHz 3G service to retail customers by reselling capacity from CAT, although CAT itself leases the capacity from another True Corp unit, BFKT (Thailand), which is contracted to roll out W-CDMA/HSPA infrastructure nationwide. The 850MHz frequencies used for the network are owned by CAT, but state inquiries into the True-CAT contracts found that CAT was allowing the True group to manage the spectrum on its behalf, in transgression of the Frequency Allocation Act of 2010. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) ordered CAT on 20 June 2012 to amend the contracts within 30 days to comply with the law.
As quoted by the Bangkok Post, Kittisak Sriprasert, CAT’s CEO, said talks were in progress with True about the amendment of the contracts, and things are ‘going well… We have asked True to relocate the network operations centres to CAT’s facilities within three months in order to allow us to fully manage them, as per NBTC’s requirement.’ Kittisak added that True is willing to comply with the requirement, but needs confirmation from its engineers whether the relocation can be finished in time. Once the contract amendments are completed, the CEO said True’s subsidiaries Real Move/Real Future will officially become MVNOs for CAT providing 3G services in the 850MHz range. In addition to seeking additional 3G MVNOs to resell HSPA-based services, Kittisak also revealed plans to introduce 2G MVNOs using the GSM 1800MHz range after True Move’s 2G build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession with CAT expires next year.