ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai CAT OKs DTAC 3G trial
The sudden approval followed media reports that influential directors on the Thai telecom enterprise's board were pressing to keep the mobile operator's request off the agenda. The board also approved a request by third-ranked True Move to upgrade an additional 1,400 cell sites on its analogue 850-MHz spectrum to high-speed packet access (HSPA) technology to expand 3G non-commercial trials.
It also discussed True Move's business plan for the takeover of the small Hutch mobile network, in which CAT is a partner. DTAC and True Move both operate under concessions from CAT. CAT president Jirayuth Roongsrithong had admitted earlier that there had been an order to shelve DTAC's request.
"After the media reports yesterday, the position of the board turned abruptly," he said. Mr. Jirayuth also said he believed True Move would successfully reach an agreement to acquire the interest of Hong Kong-based Hutchison telecom in the Hutch CDMA network, which serves 25 central provinces and has about 600,000 customers.
CAT would consider either changing or terminating its existing marketing contract with Hutch, the network investment under BFKT, and the marketing of Hutchison.
Mr. Jirayuth said that CAT would initially become a network provider and sell mobile numbers wholesale and retail to True Move.
The enterprise would also allow other interested companies to provide services together with True Move under a 14-year contract.
He also said that True Move proposed to change Hutch's CDMA network to HSPA technology. CAT has 10 megahertz of the 850-MHz spectrum, DTAC and Hutch 10 MHz each, and True Move 5 MHz. If True could successfully take over Hutch, the company would have the right to operate a total 15 MHz.
CAT earned more than 700 million baht in revenue from Hutch under the revenue-sharing agreement. True Move must guarantee that CAT must be eligible for higher benefits under a new contract.
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