Thailand’s state-owned operator TOT selected the country’s leading operator AIS as its partner to launch mobile services, according to the ICT Minister.

The partnership reportedly will focus on the expansion of TOT’s existing 2.1GHz (3G) service. The company also wants AIS to support its roll out of mobile services using its 2.3GHz spectrum.

The deal still needs to be approved by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), which will review the decision on 29 October and also consider allowing TOT to use its 2.3GHz spectrum for 4G services, The Nation reported.

ICT Minister Uttama Savanayana said that TOT would not file a lawsuit to try to stop the 900MHz auction next month.

The AIS partnership, which also covers the 900MHz band, comes just two weeks after TOT called off talks with AIS to jointly operate a tower venture after its 2G concession with the market leader expired, saying such a venture “might not be the best course of action”.

AIS, which has a 46 per cent market share, proposed forming a 49:51 joint venture with TOT to manage the more than 13,000 towers under its 2G concession that expired on 30 September. TOT acting president Monchai Noosong said it wants AIS to transfer all the towers to TOT to comply with the concession terms.

Four other companies submitted proposals to partner with TOT – True (which was runner up), Loxley, Mobile LTE and Samart.