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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        9  February 2011

DTAC wants same deal as True Move

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In the stormy field of Thai telecoms, equal opportunity for competing firms is the battleground as foreign firms feel they are not getting a fair deal.

DTAC, owned by Telenor of Norway is demanding that CAT Telecom, its mobile concession owner, realign their contracts to bring them in line with the True-Hutch contracts for a level playing field.

The country's second-largest mobile operator is seeking fair treatment from the state telecom enterprise, especially with regard to revenue-sharing payments and the right to network equipment.

True Move, its smaller rival, late last year clinched a deal to buy the Hutch mobile business and last month entered a 14-year contract with CAT for wholesaling and reselling of services including 3G to customers.

DTAC also plans to delist from the Singapore Stock Exchange over the next three years due to low trading volume. It listed in Singapore prior to listing on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. Chief executive Tore Johnsen said the company was waiting for a response to the letter DTAC sent to CAT asking for a discussion on the True-CAT deal.

However, he said DTAC did not want to have a joint marketing contract with the state telecom enterprise as the company has a network.

Also, it plans to bid for a 3G licence on the new 2.1-megahertz frequency. DTAC's revenue-sharing with CAT will increase from 25 percent to 30 percent of total revenue this year.

Net new subscribers are expected to number 3-4 million this year, equal to last year's growth. Of that total, DTAC expects 1.9 million users.

Mr. Johnsen said DTAC would avoid price competition and instead focus on providing a quality network with improved speed instead.

Vanna Pornsinsiriruk, the chief financial officer, said DTAC had earmarked a capital expenditure of 6-7 billion baht this year.

He said the company planned to invest more than 100 million baht in WiFi network expansion at high data traffic areas in an attempt to offload its 2G mobile network and upgrade IT systems. DTAC reported a record-high profit of 10.9 billion baht last year on revenue of 72.4 billion, up 10 percent year-on-year.

DTAC added 2 million subscribers last year, bringing its total to 21.6 million.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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