Thailand’s largest operator AIS, after months of on-off talks, finally reached an agreement with state-owned TOT to hand over more than 13,000 towers it built under a build-transfer-operate concession, which expired on 30 September.
The deal, which ends the arbitration dispute with TOT over the 900MHz concession, includes a proposal for AIS to rent the 2G base stations from TOT for 15 years for THB5.6 billion ($154 million) a year for the first five years, the Nation reported. The fee would drop to THB3.6 billion a year for the remaining ten years.
AIS also proposed paying the rent on the property where the towers are built on behalf of TOT for two years. Previously AIS paid the rental fee directly to the property owners.
TOT, however, has not finalised the contract with AIS since it is considering similar network rental proposals from Jasmine International and True, the newspaper said.
AIS was unable to purchase 900MHz spectrum in December’s auction, losing out to True Move and Jasmine International, but it acquired 15MHz of 1.8GHz airwaves for $1.1 billion along with rival True in November.
Back on good terms
Back in October TOT selected AIS as its partner to launch mobile services, according to the ICT Minister. The partnership will focus on expanding 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.
That deal came just weeks after TOT called off talks with AIS to jointly operate a tower venture after the 900MHz concession 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 towers under the 2G concession. TOT acting president Monchai Noosong said at the time it wanted AIS to transfer all the towers to TOT to comply with the concession terms.