365 ends TOT MVNO partnership; Samart buys M Link shares

24 Sep 2013

365 Communications (365 3G), one of the five mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) which have operated over Thai state-owned telco TOT’s 3G network since the start of 2010, has reportedly declined to renew its MVNO contract which expires on 10 October. A report from Bangkok-based MVNO consultancy Yozzo says that TOT will transfer the existing 10,000-or-so customers of 365 3G to its retail ‘TOT 3G’ brand. TeleGeography notes that 365 has recently looked at the possibility of joining an alternative MVNO partnership with TOT’s state-run sister CAT Telecom.

In related news, another of the five companies offering MVNO services based on TOT’s network, equipment vendor Samart, has bought a 30% stake in Thai mobile handset retailer M Link. TeleGeography notes that Samart, using the I-Mobile brand, has been relatively more successful in signing up users than the other TOT MVNOs (with 103,000 users at end-March 2013 compared to the other four firms’ 53,000 between them), while Samart’s network equipment wing is among the SL Consortium firms providing services for TOT’s nationwide 3G network expansion project. It is also noted that Samart’s new partly-owned asset M Link has shown interest in establishing an MVNO on CAT’s network.