Thailand sets 90-day 3G deadline

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After years of delays due to political and financial inertia, the newly appointed board of Thailand’s state-owned TOT Public Company Ltd has set a 90-day deadline for the implementation of a fully commercial first phase for 3G services.

Much to Thailand’s chagrin, absent initiative in employing the now-dated technology has put the country at risk of being branded “backwards” while even neighbouring Cambodia and international pariahs North Korea and Zimbabwe steam ahead, eyeing high-percentile 3G penetration along the way.

Formed just two weeks ago, TOT’s new board will have to carry out the much-delayed tasks of solving critical financial burdens and adding value to the network.

The board has also promised to draft the second phase of the network’s implementation, which will see the installation of 15,000 to 18,000 bases to address service loopholes.

In May 2011, TOT awarded a contract worth 16 billion baht to a consortium containing Samart Telecoms plc and Loxley plc to establish a 5,200-station foundation for the country’s 3G network. However, political finger pointing and budgetary concerns have resulted in not one station being built to date.

But that doesn’t mean that Thais aren’t already anxious and lining up. TOT’s 3G service has close to 200,000 subscribers – 140,000 of which are from five mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) and another 60,000 of its own subscribers.

The five MVNOs are Samart I-Mobile, Loxley, IEC Technology, 365 Communication and M Consult.

Barbed exchanges have ensued. Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap, the information and communication technology minister, said “wrong policies” by the previous government had made TOT face a disaster.

Thailand’s Advanced Info Service (AIS), once a crown jewel of the Shinawatra family, looks to be in the lead to win a deal to help TOT expand 3G services. AIS is currently offers TOT four times the returns than rival bidders.

Samart Corporation is the only other major bidder for the telecom deal, both looking to secure a 40-per cent stake in TOT’s long-awaited network.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

After years of delays due to political and financial inertia, the newly appointed board of Thailand’s state-owned TOT Public Company Ltd has set a 90-day deadline for the implementation of a fully commercial first phase for 3G services.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

After years of delays due to political and financial inertia, the newly appointed board of Thailand’s state-owned TOT Public Company Ltd has set a 90-day deadline for the implementation of a fully commercial first phase for 3G services.

Much to Thailand’s chagrin, absent initiative in employing the now-dated technology has put the country at risk of being branded “backwards” while even neighbouring Cambodia and international pariahs North Korea and Zimbabwe steam ahead, eyeing high-percentile 3G penetration along the way.

Formed just two weeks ago, TOT’s new board will have to carry out the much-delayed tasks of solving critical financial burdens and adding value to the network.

The board has also promised to draft the second phase of the network’s implementation, which will see the installation of 15,000 to 18,000 bases to address service loopholes.

In May 2011, TOT awarded a contract worth 16 billion baht to a consortium containing Samart Telecoms plc and Loxley plc to establish a 5,200-station foundation for the country’s 3G network. However, political finger pointing and budgetary concerns have resulted in not one station being built to date.

But that doesn’t mean that Thais aren’t already anxious and lining up. TOT’s 3G service has close to 200,000 subscribers – 140,000 of which are from five mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) and another 60,000 of its own subscribers.

The five MVNOs are Samart I-Mobile, Loxley, IEC Technology, 365 Communication and M Consult.

Barbed exchanges have ensued. Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap, the information and communication technology minister, said “wrong policies” by the previous government had made TOT face a disaster.

Thailand’s Advanced Info Service (AIS), once a crown jewel of the Shinawatra family, looks to be in the lead to win a deal to help TOT expand 3G services. AIS is currently offers TOT four times the returns than rival bidders.

Samart Corporation is the only other major bidder for the telecom deal, both looking to secure a 40-per cent stake in TOT’s long-awaited network.

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