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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        4  May 2011

Thai TOT revamping 3G structure

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TOT Plc, Thailand’s state telecoms agency, is stepping up its efforts to strengthen its fledgling third-generation (3G) mobile broadband service, with a planned revamp of its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) structure.

The state telecom enterprise plans to create three MVNO categories: strategic partners, conventional MVNOs and resellers.

Arnont Tuptiang, TOT's new president, said it was looking to select new MVNOs to aggressively promote its 3G nationwide service in July, replacing existing inactive operators.

The entire overhaul process is expected to be completed next month under the consultant framework conducted by Boston Consulting Group.

An MVNO is a mobile operator that does not own its own spectrum and usually does not have its own network infrastructure.

TOT is offering the high-speed mobile broadband service initially through 548 base stations in Bangkok and surroundings areas. Five companies are operating under a MVNO business model for TOT: Samart I-Mobile, Loxley, 365 Communication, IEC International and M Consultant Corporation. However, TOT 3G service are said to be inactive due to the state enterprise's ineffective business model and limited network coverage and MNVOs' weak financial health.

The TOT board recently approved a 16-billion-baht contract for the SL consortium of Samart Telcoms Plc and Loxley to build a nationwide 3G network, with up to 5,320 base stations planned in the first phase.

Mr. Arnont said the new structure would help streamline management and operations, eliminating duplication.

Under the new categories, a strategic partner will work closely with TOT in network expansion, marketing and other activities. A conventional MVNO would provide services and have its own billing system. A reseller would sell 3G SIM cards on behalf of TOT.

Boston Consulting Group is working out the new structure, benefits and returns to TOT, and the appropriate number of MVNOs in the market.

Mr. Arnont said TOT expected to open new bids for MVNOs in June. He also noted that Advanced Info Service or other private operators would be strategic partners, depending on terms and conditions.

"3G is our future. It will become our core business generating high revenue, enough to offset our declining concession revenue," he added.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   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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