Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DE), has revealed that National Telecom (NT), which will be formed by the merger of state-owned enterprises TOT and CAT Telecom, is expected to commence operations in the second quarter of 2020, The National writes. The merger plan, which was drafted in 2018 to keep the two state-backed operators afloat, has already been approved by the State Enterprise Policy Office. ‘A merger is the best solution to eliminate redundancy of their business operations, as well as creating added value for their existing assets’, Buddhipongse said, though the official added that the plan must be examined carefully before being submitted to the cabinet for approval. TOT and CAT Telecom now must submit their strategy relating to employee and management structure, assets and valuation, and business agreements and contracts with other private companies to the minister within the next 45 days. Following the merger, NT will be under the administration of the Finance Ministry.