Thai state-run telco TOT has reportedly delayed its plans to establish an infrastructure fund – from March 2017 to January 2018 – after experiencing problems with the duration of wholesale infrastructure access contracts that have been signed to date. According to the Bangkok Post, TOT has 25,000km of underground cable duct (‘pipe’) infrastructure across the country, and this is rented by as many as ten different telecoms operators to house their respective fibre-optic cables. However, the existing contracts are all due to expire within one-to-three years, making long-term revenue projections difficult. As such, TOT is in talks with the operators in question, and seeks to extend the contracts to at least a ten-year timeframe; the negotiations are expected to be settled by October this year.
TOT appointed Bualuang Securities to establish the fund in 2016, the report notes. When up and running, the infrastructure fund will be listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database shows that TOT is aiming to emulate the lucrative infrastructure fund ventures launched by its private sector rivals. In December 2013 quadruple-play operator True Corp raised around USD1.6 billion in the initial public offering (IPO) of True Telecommunications Growth Infrastructure Fund (TRUEGIF), the first of its kind in Thailand. In February 2015 Jasmine International raised over USD1.1 billion via the IPO of its Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund, which began trading on the SET with a value of USD1.7 billion; the fund incorporates extensive network assets operated by Triple T Broadband, Jasmine’s fixed broadband division.