Thai newspaper The Nation writes that state-owned CAT Telecom has budgeted THB200 million (USD6.7 million) for a marketing campaign to migrate the remaining 110,000 registered users of its soon-to-close CDMA2000-based ‘CAT CDMA’ network to HSPA-based services. The 51-province CDMA 850MHz network will shut down in March, and CAT hopes the remaining users – including around 20,000 post-paid customers – will be persuaded to take up services on CAT’s retail ‘My’ branded service offered over the W-CDMA/HSPA 850MHz network shared with True Corp. True will also shut down its ‘Hutch’ branded CDMA2000 service in Thailand’s central provinces at the same time. Keeping the CAT CDMA service running costs THB70 million a month in maintenance.
In a related matter, CAT has proposed amended contracts of the 3G partnership with True for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission’s (NBTC’s) consideration, in order to comply with an NBTC order issued last June. The watchdog made the order after finding that the contracts breached the 2010 Frequency Allocation Act. Amendments must show that CAT has full control over its 850MHz spectrum used under the partnership, while both CAT and True must wait for the Council of State’s ruling on whether their service partnership is subject to the 1992 State-Private Joint Venture Act before they can finalise amendments. Whilst True’s ‘True Move H’ HSPA retail service offered via the partnership has flourished, CAT has suspended commercial marketing of its ‘My’ service, and its number of subscribers remains very small.