27 Aug 2013
Thai quadruple-play telco True Corp has confirmed it will exclude its 2G mobile division True Move’s wireless tower assets from its planned infrastructure fund, as they are the subject of an ownership dispute with state-owned CAT Telecom. As reported by Thai newspaper The Nation, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has now cleared up regulatory issues on the planned infrastructure fund, according to the regulator’s telecom committee chairman Settapong Malisuwan.
In response to the NBTC’s apparent clearance of True’s infrastructure fund listing plan, Jasmine International – parent of Thai telco Triple T Broadband – has followed suit, filing a similar plan with the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), which would allow Jasmine to sell or lease networks comprising optical fibre cable of approximately 610,000 core kilometres and around 16,000 network access nodes, according to The Nation.
Meanwhile, True Corp has postponed an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on the infrastructure fund formation and selling shares in non-core businesses, in order to allow its independent financial adviser extra time to study the proposals and provide its opinions to shareholders. The meeting was originally scheduled for 12 September, but True says it will notify the SET of a new date next month. True’s original infrastructure fund plan included the sale of telecom assets including around 13,000 towers worth about THB15 billion (USD469 million), core fibre-optic cable networks, broadband networks and the rights to the income from equipment rental to the fund, in which True would acquire a 33% stake. Build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession holders must transfer their network assets to the state enterprises after their concessions end – True Move’s BTO concession expires on 15 September 15, but CAT and True Move have yet to settle which of them owns some 7,000 telecom towers. Earlier both subjected 4,500 telecom towers out of the total to arbitration, although the arbitration panel recently dismissed the case, saying they should wait until True Move’s concession ends. In addition, True directly owns around 6,000 towers and its subsidiary BFKT owns approximately 1,400 towers.