The merger of Thailand’s state telecom firms TOT and CAT Telecom is scheduled to conclude by 13 January 2021 at the latest, Buddhipongse Punnakanta, the Digital Economy and Society (DES) minister, has revealed. According to the Bangkok Post, the telcos’ respective management teams are obliged to conclude the process between 4 January and 13 January, after which the enlarged entity will be known as National Telecom (NT). The merger was originally planned to conclude on 14 July this year, but was postponed for six months due to the volume of paperwork between the companies and their creditors, as well as the impact of the pandemic.
Mr Buddhipongse added that CAT and TOT are in talks with private companies, with a view to securing strategic partners ahead of a 5G rollout. TOT acquired a 400MHz block of 26GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum in the government’s 5G auction in February, while CAT successfully bid on a 2×10MHz block of 700MHz spectrum. The minister noted: ‘The 5G development will require the involvement of private operators and is not meant to serve certain industries or rich people. This service is intended for all Thais to raise their quality of life.’