TOT ‘could face Bt8-bn loss’ if business mergers with CAT fail

Corporate January 12, 2017 01:00

By USANEE MONGKOLPORN
THE NATION

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STATE telecommunications agency TOT could lose Bt8 billion this year if it fails to merge three core businesses with CAT Telecom, TOT president Montchai Noosong said.



The loss would be mainly due to depreciation of the value of its telecom transmission network, he added.

The State Enterprise Policy Commission this week acknowledged the plans of TOT and CAT to merge their international Internet gateway and data-centre businesses into one company, NGDC (Neutral Gateway Network & Data Centre Co), and their broadband Internet businesses into a company that will be named |NBN (National Broadband Network Co). 

These new companies are supposed to get off the ground by July as ordered by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Montchai said. 

The two telecom agencies will each hire a consultant to conduct a second-phase study of the merger plans, which will focus on the asset valuation of the merged businesses and their structure. Their existing consultants have already completed the first-phase study.

TOT estimates revenue of Bt30.8 billion for 2016 and a net loss of Bt5.8 billion, versus the target of a Bt14-billion net loss.

TOT is also in talks with CAT on a possible partnership of their cellular service businesses to improve their competitiveness. TOT has already partnered with its former concession holder Advanced Info Service to provide third-generation service on the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum nationwide on a commercial trial basis. 

It has also sought a possible partnership with private telecom operators to provide wireless broadband service on its 2.3GHz band.

Montchai said he was confident that TOT would finish installing broadband connectivity in 24,700 villages nationwide this year as part of its obligation to the |government’s “digital economy” policy.