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AIS-TOT deal postponed after threat

TOT has suddenly postponed the signing scheduled for today of memoranda of understanding for collaboration with the Advanced Info Service (AIS) group, in what appears to be a response to a boycott threat by Suthep Thaugsuban, head of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee.

TOT did not give a reason for the cancellation, but it followed Suthep's vow yesterday to boycott goods and products offered by the businesses of the Shinawatra clan and families of other government figures. AIS is controlled by InTouch, formerly Shin Corp, which was founded by Thaksin Shinawatra.

A TOT source said the signing had originally been scheduled to take place today at the telecom agency's headquarters on Chaeng Wattana Road. The MoUs were to cover issues ranging from nationwide third-generation roaming to Wi-Fi network leasing.

AIS's wholly owned subsidiary Advanced Wireless Network and TOT were to sign an MoU to allow AWN subscribers to roam with TOT's 3G 2.1-gigahertz network whenever AWN's own 3G network was full.

TOT's 3G network has capacity to serve 7.2 million subscribers, but the state agency currently has only 530,000 3G subscribers. AWN, which has around 17 million subscribers, aims to have 30 million by the end of this year.

AWN has also busily expanded its own network coverage nationwide to better serve customers. TOT owns the AIS concession.

Super Broadband Network (SBN), part of AIS group, will also sign an MoU with TOT to lease 10,000 access points of TOT's nationwide Wi-Fi network for one year for Bt120,000 a month. This will allow AWN to back up its 2.1GHz cellular service provision.


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