According to Thailand’s ICT minister Uttama Savanayana, the country’s mobile market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) has reached a deal with state-run telco TOT – the issuer of AIS’ original mobile concession – for a network partnership framework whilst apparently avoiding the mooted prospect of court action being launched by TOT against the upcoming 900MHz licence auction next month. The auction includes the technology-neutral reallocation of GSM 900MHz frequencies originally issued to AIS under its 2G build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession with TOT which has now expired. As reported by TelecomAsia, the minister claimed that the new AIS-TOT partnership would encompass the 900MHz, 2100MHz and 2300MHz mobile spectrum bands.
The official was also quoted as saying that he would be meeting with the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to allow the development of 4G using TOT’s 2300MHz spectrum which it has implicit permission to use until 2025, whilst the ICT ministry has also proposed to help TOT with a THB5 billion (USD141 million) loan, at least partly aimed at persuading the telco to desist from claiming damages from the state against transgressions of its concessionary terms. The NBTC is scheduled to decide on whether to support the plan by 29 October.