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Telenor Asia chief quits Thailand’s Total Access


July 5, 2008

Telenor Asia chief quits Thailand’s Total Access
Thailand’s Total Access Communication Plc’s chief executive Sigve Brekke would resign to take on a bigger role in expanding Telenor businesses in Asia, Reuters quoted Norway's Telenor, which controls TAC as saying Friday.

Brekke, who will head Telenor's Asia operations in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand from September 1, said was eye expansion into new Asian markets.

"My new job is not only to be responsible in the four operations that Telenor has, but also to aggressively try to buy some operations in some new countries," Brekke told reporters.

Under Brekke's leadership, TAC mounted a rural marketing campaign to build up market share and brand recognition in a highly competitive industry, analysts said.

TAC, which is 32.7 percent directly owned by Telenor, has appointed Tore Johnsen, chief executive of Telenor Pakistan since August 2004, to succeed Brekke, who will remain on TAC's board of directors and work at Telenor's office in Bangkok.

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Johnsen has over 30 years of experience within the Telenor Group, which has about 65 million customers in Asia.

Telenor was keen to invest in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, Brekke said.

TAC has more than 16 million mobile subscribers, or a 30 percent market share. Its main rival Advanced Info Systems , holds about 50 percent of the domestic mobile market.

Brekke said TAC will focus on developing a third generation mobile service in Thailand, where operators are seeking to boost revenues by offering new services in a nearly saturated market.

He expected TAC to launch the 3G service on its 850 MHz frequency in Bangkok and major cities by the end of this year with an investment of 2 billion baht ($60 million).

Another 3 billion baht would be spent next year to expand the services using HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access), an advanced 3G mobile technology that enables faster Internet browsing and video and music downloads.

TAC's second-quarter earnings were expected to beat first quarter's 2.35 billion baht thanks to a 3.0 billion baht payment from Digital Phone to end a dispute over unpaid network fees, chief commercial officer Thana Thienachariya said. Digital Phone is an unlisted unit of AIS.

Kim Eng Securities expected TAC to report a net profit of 3.95 billion baht for the April-June quarter, more than double a year earlier and 68.5 percent higher than the previous quarter. The firm is due to report its second quarter results later this month.

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