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InTouch earmarks Bt100m |for new digital platform

TELECOM firm InTouch expects to spend around Bt100 million this year on developing a platform to convert conventional TV content into digital format for digital TV and mobile phone operators.

The company's executive committee chairman Somprasong Boonyachai explained that InTouch would act as a mediator between content providers and digital TV operators, adding that the firm would focus on this side of business this year.

Somprasong added that InTouch would either develop the digital platform on its own or with potential partners. The cost of the new business is expected to be just Bt100 million, and the company is planning to rely on its own technological expertise and familiarity with mobile-phone users to expand further.

InTouch is the parent of leading cellular operator Advanced Info Service.

Somprasong said that InTouch has not given up on plans to enter the digital TV broadcasting business after failing to grab a standard definition (SD) variety channel licence last month when the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) was auctioning off 24 commercial TV channel licences.

He said he expects InTouch to get another chance at entering the digital TV broadcasting business in a couple of years as he does not think all 24 licence holders will be able to make it in the business, giving his firm another chance to enter the arena. If a TV licence holder fails to survive it needs to return the licence to NBTC so it can be auctioned off again.

Somprasong said that InTouch's feasibility study on the digital TV broadcasting business showed that the company had the potential to capture a trend-setting audience.


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