Thai mobile operator AIS forged a solar power deal for off-grid base stations with a subsidiary of its largest shareholder Gulf Energy Development, aimed at expanding network coverage to remote areas while reducing electricity costs.

In a statement, the operator noted its board approved a procurement and construction agreement with Gulf1 Co for off-grid solar projects covering 20 base stations. The deal is valued at THB23.3 billion ($633.6 million), with the sites expected to be completed by end-2024.

AIS added the project aligns with its sustainable business agenda, which targets increasing the proportion of renewable energy by 501.23MWh per year and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 300.03 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The company set the goal of increasing renewable energy usage to 5 per cent of total energy consumption.

Gulf Energy Development is the largest shareholder (46.6 per cent) of Intouch Holdings, which holds a 40.4 per cent stake in AIS.

AIS is the second-largest mobile player in Thailand with 45 million connections at end-March, behind True Corp on 50.8 million, data from GSMA Intelligence showed.