The Thai government’s digital economy policy panel has revealed the bare bones of a plan to create a National Backbone Holding Company to operate national telecoms infrastructure consolidating the resources of state-owned telcos TOT and CAT Telecom, plus other networks which could include those of public utilities and potentially private sector operators, especially infrastructure previously rolled out under public-private revenue-sharing concessions. Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will establish an official national digital economy committee ‘by January’, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, the leader of May’s military coup, according to Pansak Siriruchatapong, one of eight members of the digital economy panel who also serves on the board at CAT, as quoted by the Bangkok Post. The report says that the combined fibre-optic networks of TOT and CAT span 150,000km nationwide, and the potential shared fibre infrastructure would exceed 200,000km if adding resources of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and other telecoms operators. The proposed National Backbone Holding Co would offer network rental services, while Pansak added the idea that two other firms would be set up under the main holding company, referred to as Telecom Tower Co and Fibre-Optic Network Co.
In related news, CAT yesterday signed as planned a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its mobile build-transfer-operate (BTO) concessionaire Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC) to explore avenues of 850MHz/1800MHz network sharing for 3G/4G development. The two parties have set up a joint working committee that is studying whether to opt for establishing a joint venture (in the vein of CAT’s existing 3G 850MHz network partnership with its former mobile BTO concessionaire True Corp) or set up an infrastructure fund.