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New CAT board to hammer out survival plan next week

The newly appointed board of CAT Telecom will meet next week to finalise a survival plan to be submitted to the "superboard" overseeing state enterprises.

Early this week the Finance Ministry forwarded names of 15 new CAT board directors to the Information and Communications Technology Ministry and CAT. The new board chairman is General Sirichai Distakul, assistant commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army.

Besides Sirichai, there are three other representatives from the Army sitting on the new board. Another three directors are previous CAT board members, who were reappointed as they represent the Finance Ministry.

A CAT source said the new board would hold its first meeting next week to conclude the new survival plan for submission to the superboard, which was installed by the junta to supervise all state enterprises.

CAT needs the superboard to support its plan to maintain the rights over 25 megahertz of idle bandwidth on the 1,800MHz spectrum without the need to acquire such rights via a spectrum auction. It previously granted the right to use this 50MHz band to Total Access Communication (DTAC), which currently utilises only half of it. CAT also needs clear policy for state telecom agencies, since some parts of its business overlap with those of TOT.

The Finance Ministry is expected to finish selecting new members of the TOT board soon.

CAT is expected to see revenue of Bt46 billion with only Bt1 billion in profit this year. Most of its revenue comes from its wholesaling of third-generation cellular bandwidth services under a partnership with True Corp group.

TOT is expected to lose around Bt5 billion on revenue of Bt31.7 billion this year, because of the lack of concession revenue.

The 2010 Frequency Allocation Act makes it compulsory for CAT and TOT to pass all concession revenue to the state since last December.


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