China Mobile and True finalise strategic partnership

12 Sep 2014

Following the announcement in June that Thai quadruple-play telecoms group True Corp had agreed to sell an 18% stake to China Mobile for USD881 million, the pair have officially signed a strategic partnership agreement paving the way for 4G technology transfer, joint procurement of handsets and networks, and a shared strategy to fight the threat of over-the-top (OTT) service providers, TelecomAsia reports. China Mobile, which took its minority stake in True via newly issued shares, has also gained two seats on True’s board of directors and can nominate a third independent director (increasing the 15-seat board to 18 seats), while the two companies have set up a strategic committee co-chaired by their respective CEOs, plus a joint executive committee. Six working groups will be established around each of the six areas of cooperation in the China Mobile-True strategic agreement: (1) service, value-added service, content and applications; (2) international business; (3) network development and technology; (4) device procurement; (5) network procurement and (6) personnel collaboration.

Having significantly improved True’s debt status, the Thai group’s CEO Suphachai Chearavanont also announced that True will post a profit in Q4 2014, while adding that it will remain profitable because the ‘accelerated 2G loss accounting’ for its 2G concession ends this month.

CEO of China Mobile Li Yue noted that each year more than four million Chinese tourists come to Thailand while an increasing volume of Thais are travelling to China. In response to suggestions of local involvement in day-to-day running of True (and regarding Thailand’s foreign ownership controls), the Chinese executive stressed: ‘We will abide by laws strictly. Operations of True Group should be managed by True Group.’